Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Is, Is. What Will Be, Will Be.

I believed in 2004 that we'd be judged harshly by the rest of the world if we kept Bush in office, and I believe we, indeed, have been. New alliances, perhaps hostile to our long term interests, are forming all around us. With our new found penchant for unilateralism (Bush Doctrine), our president’s obsession with oil, defense and personal wealth - and his limited abilities as a statesman - we are weaker and more insular, mired in a political morass that has already rendered America less relevant. Were it not for the fact that we can - and do - instill fear in others because we spend more than the rest of the world combined on our military, we'd be crushed. If the American people are foolish enough to do it again - at a time when polls show that 80% of us don’t approve of the direction we've taken - then we deserve what we get from the rest of the world, not to mention what we're handed by our next government. Our fiscal house is near collapse. Our national debt is near $10 trillion. Many Americans, including the McCains, are paying 30% on their credit card debt. Many of them, and many others, are America’s “foreclosed-upons” - landing homeless on the streets, literally. We learn, now, that if the GOP has their way, some of them won’t get to vote in Michigan. And, we've had the good sense to let close to 50 million of our own go without an insurance policy on their health. This suggests that we seem to care only for ourselves, but not our next door neighbor. We seem to misunderstand the relationship - not to mention the [American] value - between the health of our citizenry to the health and security of our country. Our hamburgers are fatter than ever, and so are our people. Diet Coke is not working. America is not well by any means.

We're at a tipping point. While half of us don't see the problem, half of us do. I believe the Obama campaign finally reached their tipping point with the new ad released by Republicans regarding children’s education legislation supported by Obama. That was the Willie Horton moment we knew would come. If I'm right – or perhaps, better said, if we’re lucky - Obama is another Lincoln: I suspect he’s somewhat reclusive, very brilliant, deeply contemplative, dark in some corners of his soul, passionate about saving the union from itself, and able to persuade us first, then lead us out of our self-inflicted quagmire - toward a more promising tomorrow, not to mention a more perfect union. I have to believe that while he begins to hit back, he's generally suspending his judgment, seeking the wisdom from his better angels and taking his time in thoughtful preparation for a major statement – and a major political move. If that sounds like hope, it is. He was wise to give the excitement generated by Sarah Palin a week or so to cool down; at the same time, the Republicans were smart to milk this new, if not ephemeral, wave of enthusiasm for their new cowgirl – in this case, one part Eskimo. The polls are turning back in Obama’s favor. Palin threatened Putin and her favorable ratings are way down. McCain – in his newly tailored shiny suits (courtesy of a well-suited NYC tailor) – continues to speak in code (“…I’ll appoint judges who do literal interpretations of the constitution”) and project dementia (“..the economy is sound”). Obama’s next moves will determine the race. The Audacity of Hope was yesterday. The Audacity of Clear Economic Vision & Clarity is his call to arms today. He has so much to gain. It’s still very much his to lose.

Are John McCain and Sarah Palin agents of change? No. Are they today’s latest GOP pawns in a cynical “Ex-Change” of two warn-out, hawked-out, radical taxers and record deficit spenders for two new ones? Yes. A cloud hangs over one-half of the electorate, obfuscating their judgment and potentially leading us to an even more dangerous and, I’m afraid, more fatuous future as a country. I choose to think, to hope, to anticipate, that our better angels will prevail.

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