Thursday, November 6, 2008

Beginning in Earnest

As I watched our new President Elect deliver his speech on Tuesday evening, earlier than any of us had anticipated, I was struck with the weight that already seemed heaped upon his shoulders. While he stood tall, regal almost, there was no sense of lightness of being, no full smiles to the crowd, only what seemed to be recognition of the solemn duty ahead. Full bright smiles came only when he was with his daughters and wife. His well-crafted words, clearly written by the man himself, gave us encouragement and inspiration that I'm hoping that he can internalize as well.

This afternoon when I came home from my writing group where we had shared our joy at the outcome of the Presidential election, although sadness of the defeat of the equality of marriage act of California, I found an e-mail inviting me to follow the transition team activities on-line - already up and running the day after the election.

Heading that site a quote read: "Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today." - President Elect Barack Obama

Listed below I found an ambitious agenda:

Revitalizing the Economy

When I had first walked in the door, I had turned on the TV, Channel 38, to check the DOW, S & P, and Nasdaq. I'd been threatening to make some strategic sells should the market get back up to 9500. Oops! too late! Should have done it down another 400 points or so, the biggest two-day drop. Oh, well! Confidence...that's all we need. But a sad job loss report today indicates the stimulus package shouldn't wait until January 20th. But is sending another check to people or giving them a tax credit really going to make an impact? Me thinks we'd be better off to get a WPA-type project going building bridges, roads, and whatever other infrastructure needs shoring up - creating jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Perhaps add on some incentives for "invent, Baby, invent" instead of "drill, Baby, drill," hoping that some talented and inventive young people in a "silicone valley" of the United States will come up with a new invention to help us solve one of the existing problems related to energy and/or global warming. Tied into this is the dire need for encouraging our young people in science, engineering and math. One thing leads to another and this suddenly brings us to education, doesn't it. We need more qualified teachers, and they should be paid commensurate to the awesome responsibility and burden we place upon them - teaching and guiding our children during the major part of the waking day. (I do get carried away. But little wonder that our President Elect was not all smiles as he took on the tremendous task ahead of him! All of this seems tied to just the first item on the agenda!)

Ending the War in Iraq

Oh, yes, Peace in the Middle East! You may have heard the old joke, which I'll never remember correctly...I'm great at remembering punch lines. The gist of it is that God (I think it was God) was granting one wish to the person. The person asked for a bridge to Hawaii (I think it was Hawaii!). God said, "That's impossible. It's xxxxx miles away. You can't build a bridge that far. What's your next wish." So the guy thinks for awhile and then says, "Well, how about Peace in the Middle East?" God thinks for a minute and then says, "Let me think about the bridge again."

Providing health care for all

This is another big one, especially given the economy, and how complicated this issue is. I can't begin to comprehend how this is going to happen without a lot of study, bipartisan effort, involvement of pharmaceutical companies, as well as medical profession. And I'm guessing that doctors will be the first to agree that it is no fun to be a doctor anymore. They're certainly going to be ready to see something change.

Protecting America

Renewing Global Leadership

The last two seem linked together. It was heartwarming to see videos of people around the world elated at the prospect of an Obama presidency. There will hopefully be a honeymoon period in which he may be given a bit of space in which to tend to pressing domestic issues. I'm hopeful that he won't wait until the end of his second term to work on the "peace in the Middle East" Israel-Palestinian issue, however. Because it is difficult is not a good reason to place it on the back burner for too long. It seems that U.S. leadership will be essential if a solution is ever to be found.

Is it any wonder, Obama had a somber look about him? I've thought all along during the past two years..."Why would anyone want to be President now - now of all times? The Democrats should let a Republican have it...Let them clean up the mess!" Who knows? Maybe that's why the Republicans ran such an erratic campaign. Maybe they knew that McCain had a long shot at winning - considered him expendable, a throw-away candidate. Let the Democrats win - let them clean up our mess! Cynical, you say? Possibly. It's been hard not to be cynical lately.

It's going to be a nice change. A literary, literate, thoughtful, and inquisitive President, and one who promises to use the Internet to keep us involved, thus providing a transparency we've not seen in our government in a long time. I plan to check in on frequently. There's even a way to add your two cents worth when the spirit moves you.

I'm expecting much more of a trickle down effect from President Obama's intelligence and ability to articulate his thoughts in a coherent manner than from any of the past administration's "trickle-down" economics. I expect that a new generation may learn to pronounce (and thus spell) nuclear, for instance! And perhaps "elite" will no longer be a dirty word!