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August 23, 2014, 1:13 pm

Hope for Change

Here we are, at a day some of us feared might never come — the first day of President Barack Obama’s second term of office.

The forces of hatred and bitterness joined up with the forces of divisiveness and greed, and together spoon-fed America a wholly unqualified and singularly repulsive Republican candidate in Willard Mitt Romney — who might well have won the race, if not for the will of an energized electorate.

Obama’s first term treated us to a side of America we hadn’t seen in a while — a side we were told was long dead, but instead had only been sleeping. Racist images of the president, and even his family, have long dominated Tea Party rallies. Foul, derogatory e-mails and text messages are routinely collected and traded by everyone from GOP party officials to sitting judges.

When caught, these people will inevitably swear on a stack of Bibles they never imagined how their innocent picture of the president with a bone through his nose and eating a watermelon on the White House lawn would be considered racist.

They spit his name out as if it is a dirty word, and some flatly refuse to use the words “President” and “Obama” in the same sentence. He has been subjected to a public, personal level of disrespect (“You lie!”) that no president before him has had to endure. He had barely settled into the Oval Office when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell laid out the Republican agenda in a single sentence, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

McConnell’s plan failed, but not for lack of trying.

From unprecedented filibustering to shameless obfuscation to outright lies, the GOP has been a deliberate roadblock to anything and everything Obama has proposed for four solid years. They have shown no signs of letting up on that front, even into his second term, as the recent fiscal cliff and debt ceiling debates have demonstrated.

He swept into office in 2009 with such grand ideas of hope and change, only to come face to face with the Washington machine, which has spent generations perfecting the art of grinding good men into dust.

His vision of hope and change is still possible, but only if that change is to the hearts of GOP lawmakers — and the hope is that they’ll start acting like adults, and start acting in the best interests of the American people.