Quote of the Day: “Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other. Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.” –former President George W. Bush (blank stare)
Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States a few moments ago. A black man, or even a half-black man as President is an event TB never thought I would see, even as recently as a few months ago. It proves that anyone, though the odds be long, in America, can rise to the highest office in the land. I expect we’re close to unique in that respect. As always on these days, I am also struck by the beauty of the manner in which we Americans peacefully transfer such power.
I have been thinking about the George W. Bush legacy. On this day, I choose to accentuate the positive. In furtherance of that, I thought I’d list all of the positive things accomplished under his regime. I honestly can’t name many, so I’d like you readers to add what you believe he’s done well down in the comments. First, Bush deserves credit for the fact that we have suffered no foreign terrorist attack on American soil since 9-11. I also credit him for rallying the country in the immediate aftermath of that attack. I am thankful for his leadership in the damage done to the Taliban, particularly in the years following their attacks. I applaud his dividend tax cut which I believe encourages companies to return more of their profits to ordinary shareholders, and I favor his reduction of the estate tax by raising the exemption substantially. That’s all I’ve got.
TB is reflective today. I have high hopes for the Obama Presidency. Since his appearance on the national stage, Obama has demonstrated that he is a man of integrity, persistence and intellectual honesty and curiosity. If he is able to retain these traits while surrounded by the chaos of high office, I will remain on his side and remain confident of the direction he takes our country. I’ll be watching his administration carefully on these points.
Obama takes over a country that is a mess. I blame Bush for leaving this mess, but I also know he didn’t do it alone. Our foreign policy problems can be tracked all the way back to Woodrow Wilson. On the economy, I believe Bush simply continued many of the harmful policies pursued by all Presidents and both parties in Congress since the Reagan election. That is to diminish the power of the civil justice system, reduce efficient oversight of business by government agencies and allowing multinational corporations to dictate our domestic agenda. It is my hope that the Obama administration will reverse course on these trends. For me, that would signal real change. It is also my hope and belief that during the Obama era Americans will raise the collective importance of service and the common good above that of self interest and greed. In our history, there have been short periods where this was the case. The trust busting era of Teddy Roosevelt, World War II, and the Civil Rights era come to mind as brief moments in time where our culture was drastically changed and advanced when Americans came together for the greater good. I believe we are on the cusp of another such era. I hope Obama lives up to his promise, even more than his promises. And with the passing of years, I have learned that though hope and belief are usually unrewarded, not only is there no shame in believing and hoping, with awareness, but without reservation, there is no joy without them.
Quote of Tomorrow: “Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.” —Barack Obama’s Inauguration Address