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I don’t blame old Cantankerous Frank here (at right) for getting all excited. Everyone likes to hope – and there’s nothing like a perceived new beginning to get people all agitated in a positive way, ready to pick up the ‘ol load again, and trudge forward, excitedly, into a golden new age.
For myself, half of my relief over the election was just as much that McCain didn’t get in as it was knowing that Obama will step into the Oval Office in January. The thought of just more of the same old Bush mentality was more than I could stand (I mean – really – how did he get in that second time around? Okay, let’s not go there).
And, now it’s down to Mr. Obama – a man who is the smack-dab centre target of more expectations than Santa ever was. Boy has Obama got his work cut out for him. If there was ever a great big pile of doggie do left on someone’s desk, it is this end-of-term.
Not only are there two mega-expensive and very messy wars to somehow extract the nation from (without leaving behind a vacuum of despair and death); not only is there a financial crisis under way that threatens the world with the kind of depression not seen since that defining depression of the 1930s, and one that is causing leading economists to cast nervous doubts on that before-now almost deified edifice we call capitalism; not only is there an energy crisis that, despite decades of warnings, people are only just waking up to now, leaving us with little time to do anything about it; not only is there an environmental disaster fully underway – that many scientists are now wondering if we are even able to reverse in time to save humanity; but beyond all this – possibly the biggest challenge – is the mindset of a U.S. (and even global) population that has come to expect instant gratification and believe in silver bullet solutions.
Both our financial crisis and our environmental crisis are due to this base cause – our over-willingness to live beyond our means. We consume and spend today like there is no tomorrow – whilst somehow expecting a magic technology-wand to transform ‘tomorrow’ into something we and our children can still use.
If Obama even has the cajones to stand up to entrenched industry influences and make the hard decisions – decisions that see the U.S. citizenry beginning to pay back the enormous financial and ecological debts that have accrued – will the people complain and moan and beg for the ‘better days’, when they were able to fritter away their children’s future without a care in the world?
For the moment, though, let’s let the people party and enthuse. When the nation – indeed, the world – stumbles out of bed looking for the tums and aspirin (quick fix solutions to other lifestyle habits), we’ll watch to see what happens next.
What’s your guess?