On Tuesday, two national polls showed President Obama down by four points, 46-50, to Governor Romney. Up until I read those polls, I had been certain that Obama would win this election. Certain that, although it might be close, Obama’s empathetic yet pragmatic approach to governance would be here to stay; certain that Obamacare would be implemented as planned over the next three years; certain that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would be kept intact; certain that Roe v. Wade was untouchable.
Then, sitting in class trying to pay attention as the last weeks of bad news for the Obama campaign tore at my brain, the false confidence that I’d built up over the last six months collapsed.
There is a very real chance that Obama is going to lose this election. In the liberal bubble that is the 5Cs, however, everything seems to be going just fine. Walk the campuses and you’ll hear quotes like “Obama, lose? No way,” and “Romney can’t win.” Usually, I like to consider Pomona College students well informed, but in the case of this election, we seem to be woefully confused.
Even more confounding than this unjustified confidence is the hypocrisy that permeates the way Pomona students react to social and political issues. Think back to a year ago when what felt like the entire school worked itself into a frenzy during the worker firings, holding protest after protest against a school whose largest crime was refusing to openly violate federal law.
Yet, after all of that outrage, when it now comes time to support the man on whose shoulders rests our only hope of real immigration reform—the only route to a true solution to last year’s worker firings—and to defeat the man who tells the country that “self-deportation” is the best solution, the vast majority of students are too involved in their own lives to lift a finger. We are the definition of all talk and no action, a position that is at best hypocritical and at worst morally and intellectually bankrupt.
In the words of Samuel L. Jackson, it’s time for all of us to “wake the fuck up.” America is not a liberal country. Obama is not guaranteed a win. If Pomona students want the reforms we claim to intensely support, we need to stop complaining and start fighting.
And, in case you are wondering, there are some pretty important things to fight for: the DREAM act, the right to stay on our parent’s health care until age 26, guaranteed health insurance even with preexisting conditions, a woman’s right to choice on abortions, getting out of the war in Afghanistan and not getting into one in Iran, fair tax policies for the middle class, funding for clean technologies, regulations to prevent climate change and same-sex marriage, among others. With Mitt Romney as President, America will become a very different place—one that many of us will not like. We have a clear choice to make, and passively supporting Obama while doing nothing to actually support his reelection is not an acceptable plan for the weeks that remain before Election Day.
Remember 2008? We knew we needed to act; we’d had enough of the Bush administration. How many of us spent tens, if not hundreds, of hours campaigning for Obama? Who here left their state to canvas houses or dialed up people in Nevada to convince them that John McCain was not the answer? Who didn’t rock an Obama t-shirt on the regular?
In 2012, after four years of Obama, we’re taking too much for granted. We constitute a part of the 47 percent that Mitt Romney loves to talk about: we’re full of complaints, but eschew responsibility for the problems our country has and hope that someone else will do the work to solve them. Let’s show Romney that no such 47 percent exists; let’s rekindle the fire that we had four years ago.
If you’re registered to vote or you’ve ordered your absentee ballot, you’re off to a good start. If you’re watching the debates and following the polls, you’re doing a great job staying informed. But these measures are not enough. We can, and we need to, do more.
I’m talking about joining the fight on the ground: the hands-on, door-to-door campaign for votes. I’m talking about calling voters in Ohio and canvasing in Nevada. I’m talking about getting out of our seats, off our cell phones and taking action in the real world. We all love to talk the talk, but now we need to walk the walk.
Phonebank for Obama from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in Walker Lounge. Can’t make it then? Go to http://claremontforobama.com, enter your email, and you’ll be looped into all of the action taking place on campus over the next three weeks (and no spam).