Delivering his weekly address from Springfield, Illinois, President Obama looked back nine years earlier when he announced his run for president at the same location. And in that time period, the president has noticed that partisan politics have gotten "worse" while he has been in office. But playing on his original campaign slogan, he still believes in "a politics of hope."
"Hope and change" -- that's what Obama promised and he has delivered on one of them: there has been tons of change, but little hope. If anything, Obama has been saying the very same things mentioned in this week's address that he has been saying since the beginning, "Too many people feel like the system is rigged, and their voices don’t matter."
If that was true then, and it's true now, then what exactly has he accomplished as the "great unifier" so many perceived him to be? Even Gallup noticed his approval ratings were "among the most plarized." Perhaps it is his propensity to go it alone, circumvent the law of the land and abuse his executive power, or it's his quickness to side with criminals, whose skin color matters more to the story than the crimes committed, or perhaps it's his incessant blaming of Republicans and Congress for the nation's ills. Whatever the reason, he is the last one attempting to unify the country. But none of that is mentioned here, just more division:
I’ll be the first to admit that the tone of our politics hasn’t gotten better, but worse. Too many people feel like the system is rigged, and their voices don’t matter. And when good people are pushed away from participating in our public life, more powerful and extreme voices will fill the void. They’ll be the ones who gain control over decisions that could send a young soldier to war, or allow another economic crisis, or roll back the rights that generations of Americans have fought to secure.
But of course, it's not HIS fault, it's just that the right government policies haven't been put in place yet to fix everything -- and he still has some time left, so that missing "hope" is still within reach, he believes:
The good news is there’s also a lot we can do about this, from reducing the influence of money in our politics, to changing the way we draw congressional districts, to simply changing the way we treat each other. That’s what I came back here to talk about this week…
Nine years after I first announced for this office, I still believe in a politics of hope. And for all the challenges of a changing world; for all the imperfections of our democracy; choosing a politics of hope is something that’s entirely up to each of us.