This morning all Americans can take pride in the fact that we have taken a step forward. The promise of the American political system has been, for the moment, realized.
With the apparent nomination of Democratic Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States, America has finally moved beyond a past filled with hypocrisy on such issues.
Change is a wonderful, positive thing. Promised, but unrealized, change can be very demoralizing. The American people (and the world) are eager for an American President to bring the former right now, but are understandably wary of more unfulfilled promises and false hopes.
So which kind of president would Barack Obama be?
He says the right things.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
BARACK OBAMA, speech, Feb. 5, 2008
We are at an historic moment. For better or worse, Barack Obama stands at the center of that moment. What Barack Obama decides to do with his historic opportunity remains to be seen.
He swept through the primary season calling for change, change, and more change. Given the status quo on many topics, it’s not hard to see why people are clamoring for change.
Obama’s challenge is to demonstrate that his brand of change goes beyond WHO he is and translates to what he will DO. While his milestone victory is exciting, what he will do for this country is of much more lasting concern. Does he truly recognize the issues of the day and is he willing to transcend political orthodoxy to address them?
Among the questions Mr. Obama will have to answer:
- Does he understand that Americans want energy options that empower them to make smarter energy choices for the environment? They do not want an environmental nanny state that monitors and taxes every out breath.
- Does he understand that Americans want to work with our neighbors while maintaining the integrity of our borders?
- Does he understand that Americans are willing participants in a global economy, but that the benefits must flow both ways?
- Does he truly understand the folly that has been U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere or does he think he can just implement in a “smarter” way ala John Kerry in 2004?
- Will he hold to his promise to use meaningful dialogue to resolve world issues or will he bullied by his advisors into “acting presidential” and continuing the easy use of the marines to solve all problems?
- Does he plan to abruptly reverse The USA Patriot Act and other unconstitutional directions that the nation has been going or will he remain silent and allow them to continue?
- Does he have a strategy for bringing monetary policy back into the control of the American people, our representatives, and The Constitution?
- Will he give the American people a say in multinational agreements now in process that impact our lives? Will he implement a transparent process for these discussions?
- Is there really any difference in electing him over John McCain? Is there really any difference between the two major parties or have they merged into a kind of two-headed establishment party?
- In two years, will we be able to tell the difference between his policies and George W. Bush’s? Will they be making a positive difference in our lives?
These are REAL questions and the jury is clearly out on these and many more issues important to the American people.
The American people want a real change in direction and not just a change in the messenger. We want action not lip service on those changes. We want specifics not broad generalities.
The voters’ challenge, especially those who have helped create the Obama tsunami, is to test the level of change he truly represents. It is the American voters’ responsibility to demand substance and commitment to that change. “Better than McCain” is not an acceptable measure for our next leader. We have gone down that road before and we have found only disappointment.
Congratulations, Mr. Obama! Today you can take pride in your accomplishment and we in ours. Tomorrow the proving begins. Are you an agent for change or just the appearance of it? We are all looking forward to finding out.