Monday, March 02, 2009
Obama wins or we all lose
You've got to give it to him: President Obama knows where he wants to take this nation and he's going for it. If he succeeds, the sweeping changes proposed and implied in his budget will forever alter these United States.
With his three bold initiatives in education, energy policy, and health care, he is pushing this country in a direction wherein there is more of a sense of social responsibility, more awareness of and commitment to the common good. Universal health care, access to higher education, alternative fuels. A restructuring of our tax system such that the affluent contribute more. These are not new concepts. Much of western Europe and Canada are well ahead of the United States in these regards.
But there are very, very powerful entities and individuals for whom this idea of shared responsibility toward one's fellow citizens is anathema. Any infringements on their ability to constantly acquire more wealth and power is to them what holy water is to vampires.
They will fight. But President Obama says he's ready for that fight. "I know these steps won't sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they're gearing up for a fight," he said. "My message to them is this: So am I."
For my part, being a fierce and unapologetic liberal, I'm all for it. But the vastness of the transition literally makes me feel short of breath. And it makes me fear for the President. I tremble at the very thought, but already one can imagine a conspiracy, hatched in the darkest, most vile dens of the plutocracy. Some elaborate scheme, some satanic plot that culminates in a day similar to that infamous morning of April 4, 1968 or of that early afternoon in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Some obscene crime that leaves us all distraught and fearful and confused while some racist clown gets fingered. "He was a deranged maniac who acted alone. No. No need for an investigation."
Let's put aside such nightmarish thoughts. Let's put faith in the Great Whatever and the Secret Service.
I'll tell you this, though: our country is in such dire straits, and civilization itself is at such a momentous crossroads that all of us, liberals, conservatives, moderates, gays, straights, Christians, Jews, Muslims, everyone... we all better hope that President Obama succeeds. I'm not saying this as a liberal; I'm saying this as a man who is staring at the future and scared to death.
So, while you may not have been disposed to admire Obama's political inclinations, he is what you're left with, and we're all in this crisis together. I hope I'm being honest with myself when I say that, if John McCain had been elected last November, I would reluctantly have lined up behind him during this momentous time. Regardless of which party is currently running the show, we are in desperate need of unity and common purpose. The Republicans are certainly not solely responsible for this mess we're in, but they had the misfortune of being in charge when the house of cards finally fell down and so they're on the outs.
To repeat: regardless of his political bent, President Obama is now presiding over a nation that is teetering on collapse. Don't believe me? Read the damn headlines! Financial calamity, chaos on our southern border, widespread unemployment, ecological disaster. Conservative or liberal, if you can't see that we've all got to pull together, there is no hope for you... or for any of us.