Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama. And so it is. A ray of hope?

I'm going to quote two things from Neal Boortz today, which sum up my feelings about today's events.

Say what you will about the politics and celebrity-worship of Barack Obama, but today is a historic day for this nation ... a day to celebrate.

Once again, for the 44th time in our history, the United States will show the entire world that the world's most powerful country can peacefully change leadership. We're used to it. That doesn't seem so special to us ... but to citizens from other countries it is nothing short of amazing. Witness what is happening in Russia. A new leader through an election? Yeah ... tell that to Putin and get fitted for a blindfold.

Did I vote for this guy? No. Do I want him to be the best president this country has ever had? Absolutely; but that's according to my definition of what "the best" would entail, not Bill Ayers'. I want a president who promotes self reliance, who honors the concept of the individual, who brings us more economic liberty, who recognizes the danger of big government, and who will be an inspiration to millions of people who, before today, thought that their future was out of their hands. As my father used to say; "People in hell want ice water." But we'll see.

Many people have asked me if I suspect that I've made my last trip to the Oval Office for a chat with the president. Yup, I expect so. If the oceans should ever part, however, and if I should receive such an invitation I'll gladly go and I'll be honored to meet and talk with the President of the United States. The institution is larger than any man, and any man in that office deserves our respect: Perhaps not our support at all times, but always our respect.

I won't be watching the celebrations today. I have to work. Somebody has to work to pay taxes to pay off the trillion dollar plus deficit ;-)

Anyhow, I never watch the inauguration events live; you can see a summary of the best parts on the evening news (or Access Hollywood). And there are far too many celebrities involved this time around; I find them most off-putting. IMO, "celebrities" are like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy; no adult who wants to be taken seriously should be professing any belief in them. Ok, celebrities do actually exist, but they still put their pants on one leg at a time like all the rest of us, so what's the big deal? Living in California for 24 years really disabused me of the celebrity BS.

Now for the ray of hope:

Maybe there is hope for Obama after all. I mean, the guy is in love with government just like most Americans; particularly those educated in government schools. But in his inauguration speech today we're led to believe that Obama may stress the importance of self reliance and responsibility. I'll really believe it when he slashes funding for our welfare system and allows the people to keep more of their money in the form of tax cuts .. rather than relying on the government to stimulate the economy.

At a volunteer event yesterday, Obama said, "Government can only do so much ... And if we're just waiting around for somebody else to do it for us, if we're waiting around for somebody else to clean up the vacant lot or waiting for somebody else to get involved in tutoring a child, if we're waiting for somebody else to do something, it never gets done."

Good for him. That's a good start.

Now I assume that he said this in the context of volunteerism .. why can't he take more of an approach like this to our economy? Remember, it was just last week when Obama said that "only government" can get us out of this economic crisis.

I love it when he talks like that. I've been afraid that he's going to be another Jimmy Carter, endlessly throwing money at problems with no understanding of how to solve or effectively deal with those problems. Even Carter's mistakes may not have been so bad if he actually learned from them, but he didn't.

So far, Obama seems to be willing to listen to lots of different advice. No doubt he will make mistakes like all presidents do, but I hope he will learn from them too. Government is essential, but it mustn't try to do everything for everyone in every circumstance. That's not what it's for.

Government indeed has a role to play in managing the economy, but so do the American people. Sometimes the government really does need to do something, and yet many other times it just needs to get out of the way of the people and let us get on with it. If Obama can understand the difference and act accordingly, if he can see what works and what doesn't, and favor the former over the later, then there may be real hope after all.

He's president now, so we shall see. I'm hoping and praying for the best.

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