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From an apocalypse to a renaissance?

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By Hannah Hayes

You won’t be needing to tell President Obama to move to the center. The president won because he is the center. The election sounded an alarm that conjoined various coalitions supporting a more liberal agenda around gay marriage, immigration reform, health care for all, minority rights and women’s rights.

Now post-election activists can cast about for new alliances. They might even glance toward the far right. It’s a place to build an anti-war coalition, and address climate change while demanding greater personal freedoms. We can (all?) agree that spying on Americans and the Patriot Act have to go. Murdering U.S. citizens is totally unacceptable, and drones are dangerous to women and children.
Strangely, though, the winner seems bent on talk of reconciliation, compromise and bipartisanship. Why not do the unprecedented and push the agendas of those who voted for him? The swinging of so many states has provided a bit of a mandate for the winner to move things Forward — that was President Obama’s campaign call.
Republicans struggle to accept that the country believes Obama best suited to fix economic woes. Democrats must acknowledge his alliance with Wall Street and advocate that he listen to Main Street. It’s time to shift the growing divide between rich and poor. Our just-like-the-old-one president has a way to go to abandon cronyism and lobbyists. Instead, he could begin to pander to those with no clear economic advantage. Single mothers are his new best friends.
This election showed that voters won’t be disenfranchised, or bought with misleading attack ads. It’s time to modernize voting and take money out of political campaigns.
The best thing about a second-term president is that he can do things for the correct reasons and not just to earn political capital. So, progressives, if you want that name, you’ve got to earn it. Take risks and make your preferences known. President Obama should do all the things the frightened right thinks he will.
There have been several bitter pills for rich white men to swallow. I’m currently reading Gore Vidal’s “Burr” and am reminded that the supremacist attitudes of our founding fathers, though long endured, have finally become dated.
There’s a feeling of optimism as the future intersects with a new Mayan 5,125-year cycle. Transformation is necessary for survival, and the journey away from an apocalypse to a renaissance is at hand.

Hannah B. Hayes is a former Both Sides Now debate columnist, small-business owner and peace activist. She has been a part of the Evergreen community for more than 35 years.