McCain's concession speech was the most gracious and generous he has made during the entire two years of this interminable campaign. I wonder what the race would have been like if he had been that gracious and generous throughout. But then he lost me on other factors. The war in Iraq is one example. I agree with Obama's position: the war was a mistake from the beginning and we should never have engaged in it. It doesn't matter that the surge "worked" (that is in quotation marks because whether it worked depends on you definition of what was to be gained.) Now we have to have someone clean up the mess. Another example: the economy. I am cynically amused when I listen to the economic 'experts.' The most frequent questions we have asked in our household have been 'how far can we take losing good paying jobs with benefits while gaining poor paying jobs without benefits' and 'how long can the consumer keep consuming when he has lost his good paying job, his house no longer has equity to tap, and his credit cards are tapped out.' Those are not questions I have heard echoed in either the political or the financial reporting. McCain told us the 'fundamentals of the economy are strong' when it was becoming apparent that the fundamentals had crumbled and his primary economic advisor, Phil Gramm, called us 'a nation of whiners' when we finally said 'ouch.'
What I have liked most about Obama has been his thoughtful listening and his measured responses. He did not blame the Bush Administration or the Republican Party alone for our economic troubles. He noted more than once that they grew over at least the last forty years. He also noted that it will take time to get us out of them. He also noted, and I hope people listened, that government cannot solve all our problems. I have listened to the comparisons the news media (and some ordinary people) are making: JFK, FDR, Lincoln. I certainly hope not. Same stature but very different, I hope, because we are not the America of the 1960s, the 1930, or the 1860s.
For the first time in a very long time I am hopefully optimistic. For once in a very long time the problems I think are crucial may get some serious attention: environment and pollution, health care, jobs, etc. How can we address problems if our governmental leaders don't acknowledge a problem or decide that the problem is entirely one of individual failing or decide that addressing the problem will hit their constituencies too hard? That is what we have had for the last eight years. Rain at Rainy Day Thoughts sums up much of my feelings and thoughts. The election results made it obvious that most Americans want a change of direction. But societies built up inertia and changing direction will always be difficult. That is a point that June Calendar makes very well. She is older than I but we both have seen fantastic changes in our life times. Change is never easy to assimilate and there are always those who want to turn the clock back.
I think I am going to quit here. This ramble feels a bit like my thoughts--jumbled. I need to move on to other things now. My time table for finishing the quilt for my sister's 50th birthday was suddenly moved up. Instead of three weeks I have only four more days. See you next time.