Back in 2008, I asked a question that I think we should all ask ourselves regularly. Did we do the right thing? I was asking this question just after the election of President Obama to his 1st term in the Oval office. I asked voters who supported either John McCain or Barack Obama to at least give some serious thought to whether or not they had done the right thing.
This question doesn’t generally have an easy answer when it comes to voting or many other actions. It’s easier to look back after the events of the past 7+ years and assess it now that we have an idea of what an Obama administration would look like. It was much more difficult when all we had to go on were campaign promises.
As with Presidents in general, President Obama kept some of those campaign promises and not others. Some of those promises never should have been made, of course, dependent as they were on Congress agreeing with him. It’s not exactly a good idea to count on Congress agreeing with a sitting President even a majority of the time, which is pretty plain from looking at how a number of his promises died or were stalled by Congress.
And as usual, most of the promises I was hoping the President would manage to keep (i.e. path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, ending the war in Afghanistan, closing Guantanamo Bay) were not the ones he managed to keep. But he did keep quite a few, and I hope many people are happy about those. But some promises he completely broke, and this may be because it was simply apparent to him once in office that it wouldn’t be prudent and/or possible to keep them.
It’s always easier to make promises about what we will do once we have the levers of power in our hands than it is to move those levers when we begin to understand the implications of doing so and feel the weight of responsibility for millions of lives. The same very much applies to us as voters: we find it easy to claim that we will cast our vote for our favorite candidate no matter what happens, but when the time comes we often make decisions more cautiously and play it safe.
So I want to ask this question again: did we do the right thing? With the benefit of 7+ years behind us, did we vote the right way?