Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A beacon of hope in bleak midwinter

At least, I wrote to a friend this afternoon, we can look forward to a better New Year.

The days once again are getting longer. And George W. Bush's tenure as president is getting shorter. Who could ask for more?

In the train wreck that has been his presidency, the corpses are still being carried. November marked the sharpest decline ever recorded in a month in housing prices. Toyota showed a loss for the first time ever. No one seems to have a clue what the banks did with the $350 billion in our taxpayer money. And Dick Cheney? He still thinks the administration did everything right,including, no doubt, the time he shot his duck-hunting buddy. Bah. Humbug. Bam.
You've got to love this guy. Who needs Dr. Strangelove?

Now it seems safe to say, at least it will soon end. Barack Obama takes office facing almost insurmountable odds against success. But at least he does it with a brain, a vocabulary and what so far seems like a real commitment to govern rather than simply score political points while the oceans rise to global warming and America's future sinks. We have a chance, in other words, to stanch the bleeding, to look beyond our own individual pain and bickering, to emerge whole and as a nation, one that stands for something.

How did we get so far off course? I have but one New Year's wish as we settle in for a week of eating and drinking. My wish is that Barack Obama, indeed all of us, be bold. Bold enough to try something new. Bold enough to share with those less fortunate. Bold enough to accept that all effort entails some failure.

In the end, failure is not to try something and come up short. Failure is the fear of trying at all. I don't think President Barack Hussein Obama will fall into that trap.

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