Saturday, March 29, 2008


Every few decades America undergoes some basic realignments, usually under the direction of a President who understands, with uncommon clarity, the importance of leading with a vision. We have had three such leaders in my lifetime:

John Kennedy challenged us to make America and the world a better place by focusing on others instead of ourselves. We weren't about greed, we were about giving. Kennedy gave us the Peace Corps, which is still a force for good in the world nearly fifty years later. He also redirected our national focus toward the stars, or at least the moon, and began a serious effort to strengthen math and science education in our schools.

Lyndon Johnson was thrust into the Presidency early in what should have been the Kennedy period. LBJ used his unparalleled power with Congress to create a massive Civil Rights program and anti-poverty agenda. It was under Johnson that many of America's most disadvantaged first began to realize that they, too, could gain entry into the system. Some of the jewel's in LBJ's crown of accomplishments include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA - a domestic Peace Corps), Medicare, Medicaid, and Headstart - programs that radically changed America for the better.

Society is a pendulum. When Americans feel that government has gone too far to the left or to the right, they begin looking for someone who can bring the pendulum back in the other direction. There were American's in the sixties who resented what they saw as government's appropriation of their tax money for use with the people that demagogues assured them were too lazy to work. It was time for a shift, someone with a new vision.

Ronald Reagan came to the White House in 1980 with the vision of refocusing America from the "us" of Kennedy and Johnson, to the "me". Insteading of concentrating on what we could do for our country, Reagan asked us to focus on what we could do to make our own lives better, and let our poor neighbors fend for themselves.

And America has been on this "me" track now for almost thirty years. Even an eight-year democratic respite under the Clintons saw little done to enhance the lives of the poor and needy. The North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), in fact, proved to be a critical factor in increasing unemployment and poverty in the United States during the Clinton years and throughout the presidency of George Bush.

George Bush has taken the pendulum so far to the right that it appears to be stuck. Our treasury has been sacked by Bush and Cheney's cronies, otensibly to fight a war that has drug on for five years and that we have zero (ZERO!) hope of winning. Our national prestige is in the crapper thanks to our unwillingness to negotiate or even be civil with other nations. We let bin Laden escape so that the President could rush into Iraq and prove something to his father, and then have a moment of glory prancing around the deck of an aircraft carrier. George Bush has stood, like the proud little peacock that he is, snapping orders as America digs the biggest hole in the history of the world, and he won't let us stop digging!

It is time for a change. It is time to begin redirecting our national energies in a more positive, and world-friendly direction. It is time that we begin to care about every mother's son, or daughter, and not just what is good for the stockholders of Halliburton, Blackwell, and Raytheon. It's our America, and it's time to bring it home!

There are three candidates left in the race for the presidency of the United States. John McBush, who states that he does not understand economics and is willing to stay in Iraq one hundred more years. McBush is a cranky old man (with an eye for blondes) who wants to serve out George Bush's third term. Billary Clinton wants to take us back to the good old days of the 1990's when our factory jobs went to Mexico and the assets of the wealthy went to the Caymans. She clearly wants to serve Bill's third term. Barack Obama wants to focus on people, and to provide us with a hope of regaining our stature in the world through diplomacy and good deeds rather than with bombs and braggadocio. Of the three, Obama is the only one who offers any hope for change.

Obama '08! It is time for a change!

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