Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration 2008: Now the Hard Part

As someone who was happy to support and vote for Barack Obama, I don't plan on catching most of the inauguration hoopla today. I didn't see the concert, didn't watch the speeches, and don't really want to watch the swearing-in, prayers or other spectacles we've laid out for the occasion. I guess I'm just not a real fan of pomp and circumstance, but that may be because I'd rather we skip the preliminaries and just go straight to work.

And what work awaits! After the last 8 years of disasters suffered, created and exacerbated by the Bush Administration, the 44th President has a lot on his plate.

He has the current financial crisis, which, as anyone can tell you, cannot be fixed by flipping a switch or changing a President.

He has two wars to handle, one savagely underrated, and one horribly mismanaged.

He will have the aftermath of those wars as well, provided they are brought to an end on his watch.

He has to figure out what to do with those incarcerated at Gitmo - some of whom genuinely belong there or somewhere similar, some of whom don't, but all of whom deserve better treatment through the law, regardless of what they may have done or which side they were fighting for.

He has rogue states aplenty to deal with, and may not have much time to sit back and analyze the secret files before having to use them. Just today North Korea announced it's 'weaponized' plutonium, which may be another lie from their Dictator, or may actually be true this time. And lets not forget Iran, though one hopes its own people can be counted on to solve that problem through their ballot box, however fettered it may be.

He has education in need of another overhaul after "No Child Left Behind."

He has a FEMA to fix, a Fed to take in hand, and a balance to strike between finding ways to power our country and preserve its wildlife.

He has a looming problem: once the economy starts to improve, the price of gasoline will rocket back up to where it was - possibly even higher. He will have to find a way to balance the two out, somehow, or at least shepherd us into a workable alternative to the mineral slime we've been hooked on for the past century or so.

And we have the climate, worst of all. Global weirding is seen all around us, but now at least we can have people who will tell us the truth, rather than being silenced by an Administration too beholden to oil cartels to act on it.

So yes, he's got all kinds of work to do. And as I said in an earlier piece, none of these things are things he can do by himself. It will take all of us, in one way or another, both as Americans and citizens of the world, to accomplish.

Party today and tonight if you will. But tomorrow we're going to have to wake up, take something for the hangover and realize we might not have a lot to celebrate for the next few years.

But it'll make the next party a lot sweeter for having rolled up our sleeves and accomplished something together.


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