In 2008, Barack Obama proved that he is really good at one thing in particular: preying on the Generation Y crowd.
With the promise of “Hope” and “Change,” celebrity friends, a good Internet campaign presence, an overall campaign presence that just felt so very underdog — so grassroots — and an aura of rolled-up-sleeve-sunglass-wearing-antithesis-of-politician coolness, Obama was able to gain favor with about 66 percent of the coveted 18-year-old to 29-year-old voter bloc.
Aside from the campaign image, Obama made some promises to America’s youths: more jobs for recent college graduates and young people, an end to perpetual war and a new look at the War on Drugs.
Unfortunately for the President, he has failed to deliver on any of these promises in his nearly four years in the White House.
For those concerned about getting a good job out of college, there are some telling statistics:
- One in two college graduates under the age of 25 is unemployed or underemployed.
- The unemployment rate for 20-year-olds to 24-year-olds has jumped to 13.2 percent from 12.4 percent since Obama took office.
Overall, only 54.3 percent of Americans aged 18-24 are employed; that is the lowest number since 1948 when employment numbers were first tallied.
Perhaps when Obama promised that his Administration would expand employment opportunities for youths, he wasn’t talking about American youths. A recent report by The Washington Post illustrates that the Obama Administration is going to great lengths to make sure fun, safe and paying summer jobs are available — to about 100,000 foreign student workers who will visit this summer on visas.
The article explains that on May 11 the State Department “issued rules that ban foreign students from jobs that could be harmful, limited them to light, seasonal occupations that are not likely to displace U.S. workers and required closer scrutiny of their conditions.” Certainly, by Obama’s logic, none of those18-year-old to 24-year-old Americans who are unemployed would like to work as a pool cleaner or a lifeguard this summer. Besides, they should be taking summer classes in an attempt to see how close they can get their student loan debt to six figures.
The President has not done so well with regard to helping American youths find gainful employment, but surely he has gained some favor among the bunch with his foreign policy prowess. Though the warmongering, profiteering, neocon antics of the George W. Bush Administration should have been an easy act for a peace-promising President to follow, Obama simply doubled down on war.
The President promised to end the war in Iraq within 16 months. He didn’t. Obama did, however, manage to authorize a surge in Afghanistan, lob thousands of missiles at Libya in a “humanitarian” action in coordination with NATO, and announce that he is sending 100 special operation personnel to Uganda as “advisers.” His Administration covertly involved the United States in supporting the “Arab Spring” in Egypt, Libya and Syria. The President also learned that targeting enemies with secret drone strikes was met with less chagrin from the general public. So the drone has become his “big stick” — which, by the way, is also a weapon that he doesn’t mind using to assassinate American citizens. And thanks to his partnership with neocons in passing the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, he can now even target citizens on U.S. soil or detain them indefinitely.
Lies from the President of the United States are not funny; but if one had to be, it would be Obama’s drug policy hypocrisy. It holds as a pretty fundamental truth that members of the 18-29 demographic largely adhere to a libertarian view with regard to the War on Drugs: End it. That’s why when a Presidential candidate writes in his memoir Dreams From My Father that he once experimented with various illegal substances, they appreciate his honesty.
Obama writes, “I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it… Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed; the final fatal role of the would-be black man. Except the highs hadn’t been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then, anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind. Something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory.”
Obama promised to allow the legality of medical marijuana to be an issue decided by the States; but once he was elected, his Administration began a brutal crackdown on medical marijuana. Maybe his memory just got a little blurred around the edges and he forgot what he said he would do.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, explains the President’s drug policy as follows: “The Obama administration’s latest moves strongly suggest that their medical marijuana policies are now being driven by overzealous prosecutors and the anti-marijuana ideologues who dominated policymaking in past administrations. Barack Obama is betraying promises made when he ran for president and turning his back on the sensible policies announced during his first year in office. Instead of encouraging state and local authorities to regulate medical marijuana distribution in the interests of public safety and health, his administration seems determined to recriminalize as much as possible. It all adds up to bad policy, bad politics and bad faith.”
If you can stand the profanity, comedian Penn Jillette summed up nicely earlier this week how Obama’s hypocrisy with regard to medical marijuana is ridiculous:
The President told young voters many more lies when he was trying to get their vote in the last Presidential election, there are surely many more to come. Obama’s most recent fairy tale to his young constituents involves promising them a lower interest rate on Federal student loans. Of course, he could be lying.
Breitbart reports, “College students are being played for suckers by the Democratic Party again. Barack Obama’s 2013 budget indicates that the interest rate on federally backed student loans student loan will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent in the summer of 2013. This comes as Obama is preaching his love for college students on campuses by virtue of his agreeing with the Republicans to limit the rate to 3.4 percent. The doubling of the rate will only occur eight months after Obama’s reelection can be attained.”
All of this makes one wonder if the Obama Administration can sell “Hope” and “Change” now that young Americans know what the terms look like in practice. If not, Obama has a new one liner: “Forward.” Hopefully, this time American youths will look for meaning in the word before the election.