Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Right Where We Are

Another election has come and gone, and I cannot say that I am surprised at the outcome especially as we continue to endure the current economic environment. The various results of this election were not as I had hoped, but I understand that people are tired and more than a little fearful as jobs are disappearing by the thousands with no end in sight. Markets have taken such a beating that many among the elderly are afraid that all they have to live on could disappear in one bad decision before they would even realize what happened. And let’s face it: these are the majority of citizens who voted. I do not necessarily believe in the “change” that was the mantra of a successful campaign, but of this I am sure: we cannot continue on the current course.

Capitalism unchecked (that is, without sufficient regulation) is akin to anarchy: only the strong survive. The rest are at the mercy of those who make the rules and call the shots. Falling gasoline prices is solid evidence that a free market will respond to a certain reality, but our economy as it is right now is in a freefall into an abyss. The “experts” are unable to tell us where the bottom is or what that bottom may look like, so it is little wonder that voters chose to go in another direction, hoping to reverse the downward spiral.

Make no mistake. Mr. Obama is not going to be able to wave a magic wand and make all the bad stuff go away. He is only a man; he is not a messiah or Moses or Martin Luther King incarnate. President-elect Obama faces some rather daunting challenges that can be seriously addressed only if the entire Congress, Republicans included, will focus on the matters at hand and not on the mid-term elections of 2010.

There is much to be done in the coming years, but citizens of this republic are going to have to do more than simply show up to vote. We are going to have to become better informed (in an age in which being uninformed is simple complacency or sheer laziness) and more involved in the political process. Our voices in the Congress must know what we expect from them; that they are required to represent us and not attempt to lead us. In this and in many other areas, we must be willing to take responsibility for the future of our nation as well as to prepare to suffer the consequences that will surely come if government is left to its own.

This is where we are. Whether we got what we wanted in this election is not nearly as important as making the most of what we have. Expect debate and disagreement, but demand and offer respect. And know that in the end, we will get exactly what we asked for. Let us continue to hope, for this is the ideal of America herself. All is well if we want it to be.

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