Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Change-Not Somebody Else's Problem

Change is not a dirty word.  So many times, in so many different places and circumstances, I hear the word change bandied about.  For some, it's a mantra.   We hear it in politics, corporate governance, religious conflict and more.  "We must change the way we do business" is a great one.  It can apply to so much.  To how you actually do business, to government, to your church vestry.  The possibilities are endless.

In politics, we've heard a lot about change over the past few years.  We need a change in Washington.  We need to change "business as usual".  We yearn for change but can't quite bring ourselves to really vote for true change.  It's how the same folks keep getting reelected despite polls showing people want change.  It's covered by that pesky "somebody else's problem field".  We want change and stability at the same time.  So we vote to keep our crooks because at least we know them and hope that "somebody else" will vote in new faces to breathe new life into the government.  You can't have it both ways.  Change may not be easy but I for one think it's worth it.

I'm ready for change.  Ready for someone who really wants to be his own man and ignore the special interest groups.  Ready for someone who stands for what he believes in and is willing to explain why in something longer than a 30 second sound bite.  Ready for someone who wants to fix the broken health care system by taking what's best about our current system and what's best about systems around the world.  I want to believe that the man in the White House knows his own mind and doesn't act without thinking. 

I came of age during Watergate.  I remember the trials and whispers.  That event forms the basis of all my political judgments:  I've never believed in the honor of politicians.  As far as I could see, they all -to a man- were willing to do whatever it took to win.  Those that managed to cling to some semblance of ethics and responsibility were soon worn down by the Washington machine and doomed to fade from memory.  I've had little reason to doubt this basic judgment over the years.  Look at who I've seen as President in my adult life: Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush.  Ford was unprepared to be President and while he might have made a good one, he was never given the chance.  Carter was characterized by the media as a bumbling, grinning fool.  His greatest contributions would come later.  Reagan began his presidency with a lie-taking credit for Carter's negotiations to release the hostages- and ended with another-taking credit for the fall of communism. Bush, Sr and his "I had no knowledge" in regards to Iran-Contra was completely unbelievable.  Once a spook, always a spook.  Clinton.  Well, what can one say about Clinton?  Any good he did -balancing the budget, negotiating a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine- will forever be forgotten and overshadowed by one word "is" and what it just might mean in relation to a certain intern and whether or not oral sex is sex.  (Just for the record, Bill.  It is.) And that brings us to Junior.  What can I say about Junior?  G.W. has done more to drive this country into recession, destroy our international credibility and increase instability in the world than any single politician in American history.  In my opinion, he should go down as one of, if not the, worst presidents of all time.  He scares me, disgusts me and shames me on an almost daily basis.  

And now we have an historic opportunity.  Not just to prove that a woman or an African-American can be a serious contender for President of the United States, but to elect an individual who embodies all those ideals that politicians used to embrace.  Honor, hope, honesty.  We can elect someone who doesn't owe special interests any thing.  Someone who believes that a political campaign doesn't have to be played "dirty" to win.  Someone who represents change for the better in the most real sense that our nation has been witness to in decades.

Our country's best hope lies in the hands of one man- Barack Obama.  Let's all hope that he makes it to the White House in November.

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