Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Thoughts on the Inauguration of Our 44th President
Today is a historic day, the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama. I have not had time in a busy day to watch much of the proceedings. I have reviewed some of the speeches and prayers which are already online. Gotta love the internet for quick, selective catching up on the news and world events.
I believe that any objective, rational American or global citizen wishes our President and country well...because if it doesn't go well, everyone in the world will be affected.
Anyone who keeps up with my blogging knows that I did not vote for this President nor find myself in agreement with a number of his positions. The man obviously deserves our respect and admiration for his quick rise to power and his intelligent approaches to getting elected and now entering the legislative phase. Unfortunately, due to the country's and world's long list of problems, I believe President Obama's honeymoon with the electorate will be a very short one.
As usual, I find myself impatient with the USA news media's coverage of this occasion. They tend to focus on the trivial while ignoring most of the important meanings of this day. So much is focused on what the family is wearing, the new Presidential Limo (did our government buy that on credit?), whether the President will walk and where during the parade, and the incessant interviews with all black leaders in Congress and without. The overhyped focus on our President's ethnicity is in my opinion covering up many more important strengths and benefits of this new President.
Let's examine this race issue for a minute (yes, I know, danger danger). Is President Obama black...or white...or neither? If neither, what is he and how important is that? A business associate and I were discussing this yesterday while driving between appointments. His question was, "why are they calling him a black President, and not a white one?". His mother was 100% white, his father 100% black. Why does that make him "black". Ok...some old timers would call him "colored" then. Well, what is that? Whites arguably have more shades of "colored" than blacks. To me, once again, we demonstrate our inane focus on external appearances and not on the behaviors or cultures people come from. To me, while I am happy his election may mark progress towards the end of extreme racism...the race “ceiling” if you will...I am also cognizant that this President is a mix and probably won the election by his appeal to and understanding of the wide range of races represented in the Melting Pot we call America. Now that he has been sworn in, he seems VERY black to everyone on both sides of the division and to the media. To me he acts and speaks like any man of any color. He either makes sense, or he doesn't.
Personally, I have mixed reactions to his pre-election messaging and selections of cabinet and inner circle. I truly believe he wants to be a uniter more than a divider. I believe he wants to do the right thing and quickly move our country and our world towards a rosier future. At the same time, much of his messaging so far has been in support of some fundamental errors I believe our government is committing. The continual bailouts of private industries, from the banks to the funds to the automakers, continue to bankrupt the government coffers which are totally reliant on taxpayer's income and profitability. The President's own party leaders are already expressing concerns about many of his "moderate" positions when they thought they might have carte blanche to ramrod socialism and BIGGER government right down our throats. There are significant movements and legislation designed to continually erode individual rights and freedoms. Some (mostly Democratic) congressmen are introducing bills to limit or heavily tax citizen’s money that desires to invest outside the USA system. Some continue to lobby for bail outs or free loans to their home state industrial supporters and keep stuffing bills with incestuous funding of special interests and lobbyists. Many want to completely obliterate what few semi-free trade agreements we have and turn inward into isolationist, global phobic, and statist minded wimps. These types want to take no responsibility or leadership towards moving America in a more positive direction and instead insist that their government serve THEIR particular interests and weaknesses. These are the people we should be shipping out of our country instead of hard working immigrant types.
America now needs thinkers, workers and leaders. As my friend said yesterday, "the day of everyone being "Kings" and being served is over". It is time to get back to a humble service approach to life that solves problems for the masses while potentially enriching themselves through that service. Entitlements are no longer viable. We need to start building bridges instead of walls. We need to read something besides just the "Wall Street Journal" or "People Magazine". We need to dig for the real news instead of just believing everything CNN or Fox slathers at us.
Like many generations before us, I think we are in for a longer period of difficulty than anyone wants to admit. One day's bounce of the DOW does not mean an end to recession or depression. One short uptick of the dollar or down pricing of oil doesn't signal a real end to inflation or a weak currency. I'm afraid there are still a number of dominos to fall in a row before we find a steady rebuilding of our wealth and institutions. I wish President Obama all the best in facing these many challenges...and I will try and do my part to be productive and practical in light of these interesting times we live in.