As we approach the time where Barack Obama finally gets to step up to the presidency, it is with joy that an era has ended, and joy that a new era is beginning.  We are ending a time where the stage was set for economic and social failure.  Indeed, we now have the opportunity to endure that failure.  The man who thought of himself as the King will be leaving office later today, and the cleanup process will begin soon thereafter.  His place will be taken by a man with the ability and the capacity to lead.  This man knows, however, that his place is as a representative of the people.  He should be able to do his job using only the powers of the presidency.

We do not really know what our new president and his administration will do in office.  Many of his actions will be reactions to conditions at the time or forced by the agenda’s of outside forces.  We know that he will do his best to do the right thing.  I also suspect that is a decision that needs to be changed, that Mr Obama will have the capacity to do so without worrying about “losing face” simply because a decision needs to be changed.  He will know that he is a leader, not a fortune teller.  Some decisions will need to be changed.  There is no harm in seeing this and making necessary adjustments in his plan.

We can take this opportunity to look back at Mr Bush.  Certainly, not every decision he ever made was wrong.  Some were easy.  Unfortunately, there are too many problems we cannot overlook.  He led us into a war we didn’t need to get into.  He deregulated a number of industries in the name of good business, but in doing so, he gave those same businesses enough rope to hang themselves with.  He deregulated financial markets, allowing them to overextend themselves in ways that can only be explained by greed on the part of the businessmen taking advantage of that deregulation.  He stuck to decisions to lower taxes and reduce spending even as our infrastructure was collapsing around us.  Well, he did make some changes in his final year, but by then it was too little and too late to undo the damage.  The unfortunate result was caused by an incapable man refusing to accept assistance when it was needed.

Barack Obama does not represent the second coming of God.  Not by a long way.  Obama may or may not make the correct choice every single time.  However, he will surround himself with a staff of professionals capable of getting the job done.  I am looking forward to what this man and his administration can do for us.

Change will not necessarily come quickly.  In 1993, the newly-elected President Clinton came into office on the heels of another President Bush.  Clinton managed to make the decisions that would help the US prosper as we entered a new electronic age.  It did take him a couple of years to get the economy turned around, though, since his predecessor had also left him in quite an economic hole to dig himself out of.  In the end, he did very nicely for us, and I expect that Barack Obama will do the same for us now.  I do understand though that this will take some time to accomplish.

I have some hopes for the period of a new Obama administration.  Not all of them can be accomplished at one time.  But I believe the time is right for a number of accomplishments that are desperately needed to allow us to thrive.  Among them:

  • A path to get our economy back on track.  I agree that bold moves need to be made.  They need to be made in a way that will not cause problems in the future.
  • Our financial services industries need to be regulated in a way that prevents undue risk.  Banks need more conservative policies.  “Investments” that are closer to gambling than financial instruments need to be clearly disclosed.  I have no problem with a company wanting to make a profit, but not at the risk of the stability of our financial system.
  • Health care needs to be available to all.  All need to be able to afford (or even be entitled to purchase) reasonable health care insurance coverage.  Costs need to be reigned in.
  • We need to get rid of social laws that restrict our ability to live as we wish.  The religious should be allowed to practice as they see fit.  People should be able to marry any one person of their choice.   Unconventional families should be able to live without having to defend themselves.  And, while there’s no way to legislate this, we should all get over our racial hatreds and learn to live together.
  • It’s time to set some reasonable standards to protect our environment.  Auto mileage standards, pollution controls, alternative energy sources, and conservation programs are all possibilities.  The don’t all have to be done at once.  But we need to get started.  Now.

I don’t expect that a new president will bring change by tomorrow.  But now is the time to get started.  Celebrate the inauguration, but understand that our work has just begun.  It will take all of us to make the new administration a success.  This is the dawning of a new day.  Let’s make the most of it.