Monday, November 03, 2008

The next four years

As I sit down to write this, the night of November 3rd, I am filled with competing emotions. Part of me is exited about Election Day. Could Senator McCain pull off an upset? Could a Republican presidential nominee in the midst of an economic slowdown, with an unpopular President, an unpopular war, with the worst managed campaign in a decade, overcome these challenges to win?

The other part of me is filled with trepidation. If Senator Obama wins, is America ready for the next four years with Democrats in charge of the House, the Senate and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave?

Whoever is elected, the next President will face challenges both at home and in a dangerous, yet dynamic world. A world that does not play by our rules. A world looking to see if America is the same nation who defeated German National Socialism, Japanese Imperialism and Soviet Communism, or has it turned into an isolationist nation, set on retreating behind its borders and allowing the worst of world's dictators and terrorist regimes a free hand to gather power and territory? The next four years will tell.

They will look to see if America turns away from its role as the driving force behind the world's economy and imposes protectionist tariffs. They will demand we handcuff our economy with carbon restrictions and offsets, all the while building coal-fired power plants to the tune of one a week. Will America turn down this path towards economic restriction and handicap our ability to compete in the world market? The next four years will tell.

Both Republicans and Democrats will look to the government, some will have sky high expectations of what the government will do for them, others will hope they won't screw things up any worse than they are. I fall into the latter group.

Most of the conservatives I know have no illusions about John McCain and his policies. We know Senator McCain and we know that while he was our only real choice in this election, we would all be mildly surprised if in four years we gave him a glowing review. We also know the limitations of government.

The Obama supporters on the other hand are 'all in'. They have pushed all their chips into the middle of the table and bet everything on a politician. They are so emotionally invested in Obama as the person who will make their world right and more important to them, make it fair, the reality will fall far short of their expectations. If Obama wins, no matter how effective his Presidency is, they will find with all the glowing speeches and the promises Senator Obama has made, he is just a politician and the government is still the government, no matter who is in charge.

No matter who the next President is, broken promises and government failures will be the best lessons we can learn in the next four years. The government is a blunt tool, to believe it will make your life appreciably better is to disregard every personal experience you have had dealing with it. Don't expect the same government that runs the DMV and the IRS to overnight become your fairy god mother. The next lesson we should learn is government is not in the business of making everyone equal. Some people show up to work early, stay late, work hard, continually learn and make good decisions; others watch Dancing with the Stars and buy things they don't need, with money they don't have, to impress people they don't like. No government program will fix this.

As you read this, we will know who will be the 44th President of the United States; at least I hope we will know. Obama or McCain, Democrats and Republicans, Blue states and Red states, we are all in this together. We will get through it. Our founding fathers had it right, four years is just long enough to change the nation in the direction of its leadership, and not long enough to do any irreparable damage.

10 comments:

SactoDan said...

Really good post Walt, really good.

fishface said...

Wow - I stumbled upon your blog by doing a search for "don't blame me, I voted for mccain" bumper stickers. Great post!! You are able to put into written words all the things that are floating around in my head. Love it!

LMMCEO said...

Totally agree with Fishface on this one. After it looked like the talking head was going to win, I came down to my computer and googled "Don't blame me, I voted for McCain" and stumbled across your blog. Great stuff....keep them coming.

BigJim said...

Nice work...also found your site the same way...had a long letter typed up, but it disappeared when I had to sign up...long story short, I work with a black guy who I had a discussion with today, and found out that this is a huge step for the blacks,etc. While I'm far from being a racist, I find it screwed up that a veteran who proudly served his country lost out to a smooth talking politician who used his race to win...As a Marine Corps veteran myself, there was no doubt where my vote was going..anyway, as you said, they threw ALL their chips in, and while part of me hopes he crashes and burns (not literally), I hope the results aren't too damaging, as we ALL gotta suffer. Keep up the good work.

Glenn Haffner said...

Guys like Big Jim make me proud to be a Democrat, you know, like the majority of this country...

RVT said...

Excellent post... similarly found after looking for the "Don't Blame Me" bumperstickers...

BigJim said...

Gotta ask Glenn why he's on here...Dude do you have a real job, or do you milk the system like the majority of the rest of you and expect us to bail you out? Do you think its right that the majority of the population didn;t vote until this year, and ONLY because their candidate is black? Perhaps you missed the poll where they polled voters and asked them why they were voting for obama, but implied that McCains stance on issues was obamas, and whadya know, they all said "yep, thats why I'm voting for obama,(even though the things they said they agreed with were McCains,NOT obamas..They, and the majority of voters, yourself possibly included, simply voted for obama because he was black..my coworker (who is black) was downright emotional on the 5th, simply because this was a huge step for the African Americans....again, people didn't vote for him because they felt he was the right person, but simply to get him elected...I'm sick and tired of paying for yhose who sit around and do nothing, while I bust my butt to make ends meet. I'm behind the war effort, and I feel so are the guys over there, or they wouldn't be signing up...they'd rather finish what they started. If its about money being spent there, perhaps you liberals should look at how much is pissed away on illegal people who shouldn't even be here...and maybe take a closer lok at who YOU elected, and when things go to crap down the road, thank yourself....DON'T BLAME ME, I VOTED FOR MCCAIN

Glenn Haffner said...

BigJim, I'm here for my daily laugh!

Thanks for not letting me down.

Glenn Haffner said...

and bigjim...it is so noce to see you as the face of the Republican Party.

No wonder we won...

BigJim said...

Sorry Glenn, ya won because of the afformentioned group of people that decided to vote for the first time in their life because of the color of their candidate and the promise of "a free ride". You can call it whatever you want, but I feel its going to bite us all down the road...Having lived in Michigan all my life, except for time spent in the military, and living in the state with the highest unemployment rate, and also having a job where I'm out and about and seeing the kind of people that voted this year, (the kind that run up an astronomical utility bill in a rental house, get their power shut off for non-payment, and instead of paying the bill, they trash the house and skip town, leaving the landlord stuck with a mess and the bill, not to mention the fact that I work with someone who basically came out and said that they voted for your candidate to make a statement for the African Americans), I can't help but feel this is wrong.....time will tell.