During his election campaign in 2008, Barack Obama promised his administration would implement sweeping changes from the previous George Bush regime. His campaign promises included closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, ending tax cuts for wealthy, and ending the war in the Middle East. Obama’s charismatic speeches promising change excited an entire nation, specifically minorities and young voters. Now, five years later President Obama has come up short on many of his promises.
Guantanamo Bay is still open and is still accepting prisoners. President Obama has attempted to shut Gitmo down throughout his presidency but has been unsuccessful thus far. In a compromise that allowed most Americans to avoid tax increases, President Obama had to extend tax cuts for the “wealthiest two percent of Americans.”
Perhaps most telling about President Obama’s administration is the continued wars in the Middle East. The majority of the troops in Iraq have come home, but the war in Afghanistan is still raging. President Obama also authorizes the use of drone strikes to combat the “war on terror.” These drones have reportedly claimed hundreds of civilian lives, including Americans. President Obama has justified the use of drones by saying they are a “legal” and “effective” tool in self-defense and indicates that he will keep using them as asset in the war against terrorism. This sound a lot like the George Bush justifications made for his controversial tactics during his war on terror and his search for “weapons of mass destruction.”
To be fair, President Obama has kept some promises he made during 2008 campaign. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been repealed and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which provides universal health care, was signed into law in 2010. Additionally, the economy has made great strides during Obama’s administration and the unemployment rate has been dropping over the past few months.
Though President Obama has made great strides during his five years in office, I will need to see more of his campaign promises come to fruition before I can say that he brought the “change” to this country he promised in 2008.