Last November, the nation was eager to see a young man who made hope the theme of his campaign elected president. The time for a change was clearly present. A year later, many are confused and disillusioned by the same man who once allowed them to dream of a better world.The New York Times has noticed the shift in attitude. MSNBC, often accused of being President Barack Obama’s cheerleaders, has criticized the president for failing to address the promises he made on the campaign trail.

Admittedly, Obama faced a serious challenge upon entering the Oval Office. The economy, in shambles, called for the immediate attention of the new administration. As a result, many of Obama’s campaign promises were put on the backburner.

Now, months after the stimulus package waspassed and banks and automakers received their bailouts, those promises have yet to be addressed. Instead, healthcare has become Obama’s foremost priority. While the healthcare bill is a monumental piece of legislation that has widespread benefits, there are equally pressing matters that the nation is facing that need to be addressed.

In February, Obama said that he would withdraw the 142,000 U.S. troops from Iraq completely by the end of 2011. Nine months later, he is debating a troop increase in Afghanistan which would add anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 more troops. One step forward, two steps back.

Two days after his inauguration, Obama said he would close Guantánamo Bay within the year. During that time, many critics stepped forward showing flaws in his plan. Where would these prisoners go? Could they be guaranteed a fair trial? Now, with just two months left before the promised date,he has announced that that the January deadline will not be met, according to The New York Times.

If Obama is looking to distance himself from his predecessor, he needs to send a clear message that his administration does not stand for torture and will hold those in the previous administration accountable for their actions. There has been a lot of talk from the Justice Department regarding the prosecution of those responsible, but if the action is not swift it sends the message that the Bush administration can get away unscathed.

Another important issue that has been placed lower on the list of Obama’s priorities is the gay rights movement. Many within the gay community were anxiously looking forward to a speedy repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy within the military. However, as openly gay Lt. Daniel Choi discovered, this action would have to wait.

Despite a Courage Campaign petition and letters written to the president, the National Guard fired Choi because of his sexuality. Last month at a Human Rights Campaign fundraiser, Obama publicly vowed that the policy would be revoked but did not provide a timeframe in which the action would take place. For many activists, the promise was full of empty words and no action. More importantly, it was months too late.

Perhaps the problem for the Obama administration is that it does not recognize the necessity that the American people see more action and less rhetoric. The fact that the Obama administration has taken more action against Fox News than on many of the pressing issues facing the country is disturbing.

One of the taglines that came with Obama’s campaign was “Change we can believe in.” A year later the American public is wondering what became of that change that once inspired them. The last year has left Obama supporters questioning when the hopeful candidate disappeared and became an inactive president.

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