Last night, I watched President Obama’s speech and I listened very carefully.
Allow me to underscore the importance of passing the stimulus package that President Obama is recommending and to point out that the funds he requires will be helpful not only in the short term, but also in the long term. His proposal should be viewed as an investment in the US economy that will benefit future generations.
Let me explain. If you could prevent the death of the 1,500 or more people who died when the Titanic sank, would you sit in complete inertia or would you enter into a rescue mission even if it meant taking risks?
So it is at present with the United States of America. President Obama is asking his nation to engage in a rescue mission, in which he is doing his duty as President. In the short term, approving another stimulus package may, to some, seem ill advised, but it truly isn’t. This stimulus package is in fact necessary. For instance, would Americans consider saving money by not providing former President Bush and President Obama with the personal security they will need during this weekend’s commemoration of the brutal events of 9/11.
There will be a cost surely, but protecting Presidents is part of running a nation. And, as I have noted, one should look not only at the short term issues, but also at the long term benefits of the stimulus package that President Obama is requesting. The stimulus package will be an investment in the US economy and, at the moment, the US economy requires the biggest financial boost it has needed since the Great Depression or otherwise face a truly dreadful and unacceptable alternative: perdition. In fact, is there an alternative?
Under the previous Republican administration, the US sought “dominance” and now, to quote Al Gore (The Assault on Reason, Penguin Books, p. 160), it must seek the “preeminence” it once had and rally behind its leader.
Make no mistake, the world is watching, particularly China, and the world will not willingly allow the US to disintegrate because some narrow-minded Tea Party members are fabricating electoral opportunities engineered to sabotage President Obama’s upcoming re-election campaign. The current Republican Congress dallies on passing necessary spending bills, hoping it can impute the harm they are causing on the current administration and, thereby, bring it down at the next election. That is no way to seek power, if power is the appropriate term, and it will not work. Not only is the nation watching, but, given new technologies, the world can tell easily and immediately that the Tea Party is obviously playing silly and frivolous Nixonian games.
In fact, as I have written in a previous blog, if the world still has any confidence in the United States, it is largely because the current administration can be trusted. The world has little regard for the likes of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Arianna Huffington, Ann Coulter and their ilk. They and other hardline Republicans are being ridiculed everywhere, except within the narrow confines of their dogmatic meeting places.
The world knows, in other words, that a previous administration dipped into the average American’s purse and that, when there was no money left, it made a hole in the bottom of the purse. And the world also knows there was no need for two wars during which the United States of America saw fit to torture prisoners, in blatant violation of the Geneva Convention. Most of the prisoners it tortured were apparently innocent of any wrongdoing.
There are times when Presidents must take extraordinary actions. But former President Bush should have known “just how far one can go too far” (Jean Cocteau, quoted in a previous blog). With all due respect, former President Bush went too far.
However, let former President Bush live out his retirement in comfort and dignity. 9/11 led to a great many short-sighted actions. It was a horrible and destabilizing event. But there were consequences, and one should think of the consequences. As a result of the former President’s actions, America now has a staggering national debt. Nevertheless, allowing this debt to impede proper stewardship in Washington would be injudicious, and not mildly so, but in the extreme.
Why should the current administration not do its work because a previous administration blatantly misappropriated the Clinton surplus it had inherited? The stimulus the current administration is asking for is money needed to provide the services that the nation needs. It is not money the current administration will use recklessly. It is money needed to run a country, in other words, the money needed to put food on the table of American families, not only now but, hopefully, for a very long time: i.e. the long term.
Therefore, please think of the long-term benefits of investing in the United States of America’s economy and pass this stimulus bill. And also pass an extension of the Transportation Bill as well as an extension of unemployment benefits.
There are some fine Republican representatives. Actually, I saw one rise and applaud during the President’s address, but there were far too many, the majority, who sat looking like wax museum versions of themselves. The world saw these lifeless individuals, but it has been reassured that the President will now go to the people and the people need jobs and stability. They will listen intently to him.
Democracy is not an easy form of government. It requires vigilant and informed citizenship. It requires citizens who will take their fate into their own hands and no longer elect into office representatives who do not care about the nation, self-serving representatives. There has to be change and change there will be.
Let me quote Mr Gore once again. Al Gore writes that “[w]hen Lincoln declared at the time of our [the fledging nation] greatest crisis that the ultimate question being decided in the Civil War was ‘whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.’ (p. 159)”
President Abraham Lincoln, writes Gore, was “not only saving our Union, but also recognizing the fact that democracies are rare in history. And when they fail […] what emerges in their place is another strong-man regime. (p. 160)” Make it official: the Civil War is over, there is no slavery nor segregation, the United States is leaving Iraq responsibly, and the United States has elected to the Presidency a gentleman who did not once look at notes when he addressed the nation? Try it yourself. President Obama’s lucidity is amazing.
In the short term, the amount of stimulus money the current administration requires to save the nation may seem high. But in the long term, that amount of money will seem much smaller. History will put the stimulus package in the context that will give it its proper dimensions, and give it sense.
A good nation, the most powerful nation on earth, has to have a soul, a conscience, and must, therefore, ensure the country is operative.
September 9, 2011