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As Long as We Remember...

October 30, 2008

Another Round of Greatness…

Tony Soltero

Eight years ago, America was finishing up one of the best decades in the nation's history. We were at peace – after waging a successful war of liberation in the Balkans, a war in which no Americans lost their lives in combat.


We were prosperous – unemployment was at 30-year lows; the budget was running a surplus; and the national debt was well on its way to oblivion. We were well-respected all over the globe as a strong moral force in the world. Times were good.


That has all changed since the Republicans conquered all three branches of the government.


We suffered a dreadful terrorist attack that may or may not have been avoided if George W. Bush had bothered to act when warned by his counterterrorism advisers. And, to compound the problem, the administration retaliated against the wrong target, plunging the nation into a bloody and costly war with no end in sight.


The administration's embrace of pre-emptive war and torture all but destroyed our international prestige and moral authority.


The budget surplus became a massive deficit, as the administration borrowed heavily to finance its war of choice. The national debt made a U-turn back into the range where it no longer fit into the clock.


Unemployment rose. American companies shipped their jobs overseas – and were rewarded by the government for doing so. An avalanche of tax cuts did nothing for the typical wage-earner – but did wonders for Wall Street executives. And it still didn't stop the economy from melting down.


It is hard, indeed, to believe that we have fallen so far, so fast. But the beauty of our democratic system is that we the people have a chance to fix our mistakes.


And it so happens that next week we have a huge opportunity to do so.


That opportunity comes in the person of Illinois Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of The United States.


Barack Obama has demonstrated throughout his lengthy campaign that he's not just a leader – he has a chance to be a truly transformational figure. He proved to be cool and unflappable as he endured a grueling primary campaign in which he defeated one of the most formidable political machines of our times. He has continued to exhibit strong, assertive leadership and character in the face of an opposing campaign so slimy and dirty that it would make Lee Atwater blush.


Barack Obama is a leader. And he is the leader America needs right now. If anybody can handle the myriad crises that George W. Bush has passed down to his successor, it is Barack Obama. His demeanor, his temperament, his intelligence, and his knowledge base give one a sense of confidence that is seriously lacking in his opponent.


We have so many issues to get a handle on. The economy. A rational, sane foreign policy. Energy independence. Global warming. Poverty. Education. Healthcare.


We have one candidate who's determined to try the same old, discredited conservative "solutions" to these problems. The same approaches that have gotten us where we are now.


And we have Barack Obama, who has demonstrated that he possesses the vision to think outside the box and attempt to tackle these problems without being a prisoner of ideology. The contrast couldn't be more stark.


We've gone through a similar period in our history. In the 1920's, Calvin Coolidge presided over a reckless deregulatory fiesta that ultimately blew up under his successor, Herbert Hoover. When President Hoover, unwilling to deviate from conservative orthodoxy, proved unable to do anything about the economic crisis, American voters installed Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House – and the nation climbed out of its hole, eventually ascending into the greatness that characterized the American image for the rest of the 20th Century.


This time around, we don't need to sit through four years of Herbert Hoover. We can go straight to a new FDR era of national revitalization.


And that will happen if we elect Barack Obama on November 4th.

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