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Letter to the editor

Support for Obama remains conditional

November 7, 2008

The election that Barack Obama has just won is historic in many respects. First, President-elect Obama is the first African-American to ascent to our highest office. Second, this election has seen a record level of voter turnout, highlighting a degree of political participation unseen in American history. Third, the Obama campaign succeeded in turning out all these voters through a well-organized network of “grassroots” activist to mobilize voters, run local campaigns and stir up excitement about an Obama presidency.

I am of the persuasion, however, that we must not relinquish this activism that has brought Obama to power. Obama, and the newly elected Democrats in office, needs those “grassroots” activists. They need us voters to remain vigilant so as to pre- vent Obama and those congressional Democrats from drifting too far to the political right, betraying their promises of a new, progressive political policy that address the myriad of problems that we are facing as a nation.

We, the people, must let them know that our support is not universal, but conditional. Already in his acceptance speech on Election Day, Obama began to excuse himself from some of the promises he made, attempting now to ground himself in the political reality of this high- minded campaign rhetoric would not acknowledge.

The fact is that American politics has corrupted even the purest of souls. I intend this letter to be an effort to ensure that practicalities do not prevent him from fulfilling his most important campaign pledges to all of us.
We need to create, as Ralph Nader has advocated, a perpetual “grassroots” pressure on Congress and Obama to ensure that we, the people, receive our right to universal healthcare, our right to universal access to higher education, a withdrawal of our troops from the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and, most importantly, end the tyranny of corporate control of the American government.

Here on campus, the Union of Democratic Progressives is committed to this cause and votes people of all political persuasions who seek American social justice to take part in this struggle.

Alex Halverson, student