S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Right track-wrong track

U.K. on a new track - While listening on C-SPAN just now to new British PM, Gordon Brown, I was struck by one the phrases in his acceptance speech. He talked about "ending the poverty of aspirations" for people in the United Kingdom. (He had used that quote from Aneurin Bevin previously in a 2005 speech, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer). His words brought a sigh to my heart, because it seems that his diagnosis must also apply to our own nation, the United States of America.

A poverty of aspirations has infected too many of our elected leaders. And I believe the affliction is of the spirit, a poverty of spirit, brought on by our leaders succumbing to the aftermath of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. The violent assaults were directed toward a number of important symbols of American aspirations: the wealth of Wall Street, the military might of the Pentagon, and (as it was planned) the freedom symbolized by the U.S. Capitol. These leaders must have felt personally attacked, just like millions of Americans. The directions in which they have led the nation since then have been down, not up; with lowered, rather than elevated, expectations for us.

It is sad because U.S. leaders need not have become permanently terrorized in spirit. It evidently left their aspirations for the American people poverty stricken, lacking in imagination and capacity. The current administration has been consistently reactive, militarily myopic, poor at planning or executing, and lacking in any rich vision for a good future for us and our descendants. They seem to be stuck on war as the only answer, mistrustful of most of the rest of America, and severely "broke" when it comes to wisdom or good ideas. Because of limited vision - at times blindness - these leaders no longer enjoy the confidence of their own people. Recent polls numbers are unambiguously negative towards the people they elected over and over.

A new track in 2008 - We are in the process of deciding who will replace the current afflicted Bush administration in 2008. On C-SPAN I am listening to a campaign speech by John Edwards. It is filled with aspirational language, vision and hope for a better America than the one he now calls "the two Americas." Barack Obama is now talking about "taking our government back," standing in his shirtsleeves in the midst of a crowd. His speeches draw big throngs because of his visionary language, his hopefulness and his richness of optimistic spirit. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has an outstanding record of leadership, and is leading the charge right now to bring the troops home from Iraq. Hillary Clinton is strengthening her lead in the polls, according to her strategist Mark Penn. And it is not entirely due to her ability to fund-raise. Her issues list includes, "Strengthening the Middle Class," "Restoring America's Standing in the World," and "Strengthening Our Democracy."

On the right track - My Democratic presidential choices are so very rich in aspirations. I would be absolutely comfortable having any one of them in the Oval Office. They all lift my spirits, because I have once again remembered that America will indeed have a better future. I just know it!

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