January 20, 2009

Perhaps...

In a most dramatic foreclosure, we, the American people, repossessed our property and we have let it out to a new family. Let’s hope this one can pay the rent.

The Sphere is aquiver with blog posts regarding the changing of the guard at the White House. My past few hours have been spent reading some of what the pundits have to say. We have them on both ends of the spectrum and from the middle, but for the most part the view goes something like this:

We have a new president. He was/was not my man. This is/is not a glorious day for America. The next four years will be a departure from/return to failed policies. Our stature in the world is diminished/enhanced by this historic event.
In other words, not much has changed in the blogosphere. Too bad.

Obama was not my choice. I voted for him because my candidate never had a chance. Because of our screwy system of elections, only a Republican or a Democrat is likely to ever sit in the White House, at least in my lifetime. My candidate was Libertarian. Bob Barr. Not much chance, but it was worth the try.

Now I support Obama. Although I’ll not go gaga and drool, I do see him as hope for the future. McCain might have offered some hope too and might have been the best of the bad choices, but the neocon claws dug too deeply into his soul and he lost his way. With the addition of Sarah Palin to the ticket I could not find my way to pull the red lever. Palin and her ilk frighten me. Just as George W. Bush frightened me. Bush proved my fears to be valid.

I’ve been watching elections and feeling the political winds since the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961. Never have I seen this country so welcoming of a new President, and never have I seen the country so happy to see the past President go away. Some still cling to the misguided belief that the Bush efforts since 9/11 have somehow made us safer, and some remain Bush apologists. Honestly, I can’t figure that out.

Take my good friend TOTWTYTR. In his missive on this topic he all but laments the passing of the torch to some lesser man, offering something smelling of sympathy for a President put out to pasture. Obviously TOTWTYTR and I are in disagreement.

This nation and its citizens suffered George W. Bush and his crew for eight, long years. Gerald Ford’s quote as he took the reins from a resigning Richard Nixon referenced the Watergate mess, but those words have found new meaning in the pasturing of Bush. “Our long national nightmare is over.” Finally we have the hope that we may be able to steer this country on the road into the future, unencumbered by neocons who would sacrifice the rights of the people for the “greater good.”

I listened to the Bush farewell speech. If I had been advising him he would not have done that, but it appears he felt some burning desire to vindicate himself. But the best he could come up with was “I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made, but I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.”

No, Mr. Bush, I don’t agree. This is not something of which a leader should be proud. We all follow our conscience from time to time, and we all make mistakes because of it. Every failed leader in history could say the same. Osama bin Laden could say it, as could Hitler, Mao, and Stalin. Even the 9/11 hijackers could say they followed their conscience. One’s conscience is merely a collection of desires based upon the limited perceptions of an individual. We should ask if the conscience of a man is worth following. In the case of Bush, obviously not.

While the failures of the former administration do not rise to those of Hitler or Mao, the Bush conscience had much in common with them. Each ruled from a position of supreme arrogance, disregarding the rights of man and justifying it by evoking some greater good. Our great nation did not need, and certainly did not deserve that which eight years of Bush has wrought.

It is past now, thank god. As I said earlier, Obama is not my choice. I fear he will try some really stupid stuff, but maybe not. Maybe he will not be so arrogant as to think he knows best. Maybe he will listen to the will of the people. Maybe. We have to have hope.

This feeling is not exclusive to Americans. People around the world are celebrating the change and the hope of a better future. This country enjoyed great influence in world affairs in the past, much of which was lost over the past eight years. Before Bush there were some who hated us, but most did not. Much of the world looked to America in great hope.

Remember the headline of the French newspaper Le Monde following the events of 9/11? “We Are All Americans Today”. George W. Bush, following his conscience, with his self-righteous arrogance, squandered the greatest opportunity ever afforded an American President. The goodwill offered following the events of 9/11 was lost in a whirlwind of ill-conceived over-reactions. If Bush had made the right choices the world may have united to fight the evil of terrorism. Now much of the world calls America evil and we fight terrorism all but alone.

Obama, in his inaugural speech, offered some hope. His was a message of inclusion, with relatively little arrogance. He is not a messiah, and there will be real tough rows to hoe, but perhaps… just perhaps, Barack Hussein Obama will be what America and the world needs.

We can hope.


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5 Comments:

MiniKat said...

I figure we need to sit back and see what merits the man shows as our leader. The last eight years have left me a bit too jaded to hope right away.

Rogue Medic said...

MiniKat sums it up nicely.

jeg43 said...

I'm cheered by the report Obama put a hold on the chimp's regulations - subject to review. That looks like we have at least a chance to see some things fixed.
But I'm with MiniKat. I'm gonna be watching.

KK said...

I figure that this is THE time of this generation and we can right the ship and bring back some love, honor and respect.

Feels like January 68 all over again.

Hope the year doesn't end up like that one.

chuckr44 said...

With Obama, you will not see any reduction in corruption or waste, rather you will see different kinds, or entirely new kinds.