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Obama’s Victory Speech Calls For Climate Action, Citizen Engagement

Obama victory speech 2012

The election is over, and we are back to where we started. Obama will keep his job as President for another four years, Democrats will control the senate, and Republicans will control the house.

After a night of sweating and pacing as I watched the electoral votes pop in – at first offering a lead to Romney – I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. Mostly because there are no more campaign ads, but also because Obama is currently the biggest chance we have at improving our work on climate. Mostly because, like most leaders around the world now, he doesn’t deny human-caused climate change. The same can not be said of the current Republican leadership.

He wasn’t afraid to bring up the topic in his victory speech; a refreshing change from the absence of any mention in the debates:

“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

I really hope this is an indicator that he will reject the Keystone XL pipeline now that he has a fresh four years with no campaigning at the end. I also hope this means he is ready to plow through all the barriers to get the Affordable Care Act on the right track. A fresh second term gives no reason to be, well, political about it, because what does he have to lose now?

I don’t just hope President Obama takes care of these things regardless of the other side trying to hold him back. I also hope the staunch conservatives learned a tough lesson in how much is too much – you can’t denounce the realities of climate change, clean energy, women’s health, rape, and marriage equality all while acting as if you genuinely think you are doing what is “good” for the people of this country. Perhaps voting against these guys will show them that the United States is progressing and not going to stand for any of that.

“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. … I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together — reducing our deficit, reforming out tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.”

It would be nice to see both sides come together as an actual group of civilized people (HA!) and decide on a few things that would benefit everyone on every side, such as getting rid of fossil fuel or federal oil subsidies and making clean energy a priority. That’s the hope and change I’d like to see.

What do you think? Was this election a warning to the right that we are done putting up with their regressive tactics and they’re going to have to shape up, or is it always going to be such an intense battle over some of the most crucial efforts and basic human rights?

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