Monday, November 10, 2008

Keeping the Glimmer of Hope

Keeping the Glimmer of Hope

Barack Obama is the president-elect. We now have a glimmer of hope. We might even become optimistic if given a chance. If the last twenty-eight years have shown us anything, it is how fragile hope is. We are at the bottom of a long steep tunnel. The cynical and pessimistic side of us fears that glimmer of light at the end of tunnel is the headlight from the NeoCon freight train ready run us further into the ground. Make no mistake, they have been in power for a long time and the only way to assure they won't steal it back is to succeed with all our vigor and will. Here in no special order are some thoughts on how president-elect Obama can fulfill the promises of his campaign and right the ship of state.

Stop running for office. The election is over and you won. This point in history demands a leader who governs. The first term of the War Chimp is a prefect example of what goes wrong when your priority and main concern is maintaining power. Governing goes by the wayside and only cronies and rich donors prosper. Nothing succeeds like success; if you govern well, reelection is assured.

Ignore the labels. At the end of campaign you were accused in a conflated manner of being liberal/socialist/Marxist/Communist. Now in an effort to salvage their flawed ideology, some right wing gasbags are attempting to say you were elected because you embraced the ideas of Ronnie Raygun. You survived being labeled, "Tax and Spend." It remains to be seen whether we as a country can recover from the "Borrow and Spend" policies of the eight years of the War Chimp's administration. You have a firm majority in Congress, insist it isn't squandered. Ask the American public to judge you on your results, not some nebulous political labels. If your proposal(s) are labeled "Liberal" or "Progressive" or "Conservative" it matters little. What matters is if they succeed. I can tell you as a Proud Liberal despite being labeled liberal; Bill Clinton was a truer conservative than the War Chimp in many respects. Until both sides can rationally look at the other all that will be accomplished is finger pointing while the country goes to Hell in a basket.

Use control of the Congressional majorities. There is nothing in the Constitution that defines a majority in the Senate as sixty percent. When the opposition threatens filibuster, threaten the nuclear option that the Republicans did in the 1990's. Make them physically filibuster, forcing them to appear on camera as the obstructionists they are when filibustering. We can longer come to a street fight and fight like a gentlemen's debate club.

Don't knowingly lie to the American public. This practice by presidents from both sides of the aisle has done more harm to our country than any other single factor. Americans can fact check better than anytime in history. You have a good start at gaining the trust of the public. Do nothing that could jeopardize this process. This includes promptly and openly admitting mistakes. Nixon could have finished his second term had he understood the capacity of the American populace to understand and forgive.

Get us out of the occupation business. The use of military force should be the means of last resort for the United States. The deaths and displacement in both Iraq and Afghanistan is on the collective conscience of our entire nation. Might does not make right. The restoration of our national honor is a must. A side effect to getting out of this morass is the cessation of squandering of resources and then they can be used for the needs of humanity both at home and abroad.

Bring back respect for competence and intelligence. We have come to expect so little from our leaders, that Sarah Palin was taken as a serious candidate. We have gone from a nation of innovators to a country of consumers. Solutions to the catastrophic environmental crisis will require innovation. Once we were the leaders of science and engineering, entertaining the notions of right wing wackos has possibly put us over an edge from which we may never recover. To be plain: the two sides of the same wooden nickel, Creationism and Intelligent Design, masquerading as science has put the average high school and college student at a severe and possibly non-recoverable position in the twin worlds of science and engineering. It is time to relegate these ideas to the Philosophy and Religion classrooms. Science advances via the scientific method not superstition.

Reward real results and stop rewarding smoke and mirror results. Executives of all types have been rewarded for far too long, far too much, for things not real. One of the results of this is the current recession. Nothing any of these executives do is worth the thousands of dollars per hour they receive. In many cases they are rewarded despite being abject failures. The days of the platinum parachute should be over. Lincoln stated correctly that the capital of America starts with the labors of the American worker not the bankers. There is a systemic problem when a company's stock rises on news of layoffs. If the system wasn't skewed, stocks should tank on layoff news.

So, there's my two cents worth. Expect my support but not blind support; I will keep your feet to the fire as I hope the newly energized electoral will. Politics in a modern world has become a matter of life and death on an everyday basis, not once every four years as in the past. One way to "Keep the Glimmer of Hope" is to continue the involvement of the non-traditional voter long past the election.

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