Thursday, January 1, 2009

A new dawn

I have never been more eager to see massive change at the top of our government. America has been given the chance to rise high above the chasm dug by the Bush administration. Words cannot express how much I am looking forward to January 20, 2009, when President-Elect Obama will take over and set an agenda for positive change. I have high expectations that he will use this opportunity to drive truly visionary and beneficial policies across the board.

In the last 8 years, America was trashed by George Bush and Dick Cheney in many ways. Extreme ideology combined with just plain meanness - both at the White House, and for many years, within the GOP-controlled Congress - brought America to its knees. The casual use of war in the guise of national security and it’s ensuing war crimes, the trashing of America's economic security, and the stepping stones for massive long-term environmental damage were all the handiwork of the Bush-Cheney administration. Yes, there were some Democrats who enabled parts of this terrible agenda - and they deserve blame where it is due - but the bulk of the responsibility for where America finds itself today clearly rests with the current President and Co-President. In November 2008, the American public finally saw the problem and said enough is enough. As a result, conservatism as an ideology is generally in decline.

Americans hold the expectation that an Obama administration will deliver the transformative changes required to rescue us from our broad economic troubles. Many people the world over hope that, with an Obama administration, America will once again be able to lead the them away from the frequent conflicts that are rooted in economic hardship and religious fanaticism. Obama certainly has the vision and leadership to make the kind of changes required to turn America around long-term and make it a respected leader across the world once again.

Obama’s Cabinet picks have shown great consideration on his part and have been generally praised, although there has been some grumbling on the left because so few have reputations as serious liberals. One of the very hopeful signs is that he is choosing experienced professionals for posts in government – people with areas of expertise assigned to appropriate posts, rather than making choices based on the purity of one's ideology. This is an excellent first step. Instead of acting as a liberal, Obama has moved to the center. That is where good government should be.

Polls show that a large percentage of Americans are now eagerly looking forward to the Obama Presidency and the positive change they hope it will bring. Anything Obama does will be a refreshing change from the Bush years. He left himself a fair amount of room for maneuvering in a few specific areas (including Iraq) - and if his actions fall within the gamut of views he expressed during the election, that in itself would be a good starting point. It is reasonable to argue that incremental changes from the Bush-Cheney years will be adequate in the beginning. The majority of the country seems to be more than willing to be patient and give him the benefit of time. I certainly am.

It remains to be seen how successful our new president will be, but here at the end of the old year, I feel a breath of fresh air. If Obama is successful in pulling our country out of the hole dug by the Bush-Cheney policies, there could be wonderful changes in the year to come that will bring me, all of us, contentment and gladness in being alive.

It is not just a new year, it is a new dawn.