The past week is a blur of celebration, tragedy and irony, transition and responsibility. Many of us ate far too much "turkey and trimmings," watched too much television, or spent too much money on credit -- or all of the above. It is too hard to absorb so much all at once. It is too hard to take in so much information. It is too hard to make sense of current insanities. Today's post is an attempt to do some sorting out, to perhaps regain some perspective. We need to get our feet back on the ground while change swirls about us. Taking these ideas one be one, it is good to begin with celebration, because we truly do have much for which to be thankful. (image: http://www.wordle.net)
Celebration -- Thursday the United States observed our annual Thanksgiving Day. And Democrats continue to celebrate their election victories. We can also celebrate the fact that our next president has a sincere desire to stay in touch with the outside world, saying,
"I'm negotiating to figure out how can I get information from outside of the 10 or 12 people who surround my office in the White House. Because, one of the worst things I think that could happen to a president is losing touch with what people are going through day to day," he added.
As my reader, Dan'l, wrote when he sent me this link, "I like his thinking. Whether or not he can avoid being sucked into the morass that is Washington remains to be seen."
Responsibility -- We who were hosts and hostesses had responsibility for our Thanksgiving guests' well-being. These days OCP and President-elect Obama have a strange and confusing kind of shared leadership responsibility for the well-being of the nation. And it can be confusing to us as citizens. As one story put it, Obama prompted a discussion about who is in charge of an economy in crisis.
I have the responsibility to write a feature called "The Reaction in Review" at the Canadian blog, The Reaction, where I regularly post. To quote couple of regarding related links to posts that deserve a second look:
- By Capt. Fogg: "The nightmare before Christmas" -- Fogg's ironic post,on the death by stampede of a WalMart store employee on Long Island, engendered an interesting dialogue.
- By blog editor Michael J.W. Stickings: "Terror in Mumbai" -- Like many of us Michael is trying to learn more about the terrible news of the past few days coming out of India; his post rounds up a number of helpful links.
Transition -- "Obama to name Geithner and Summers to economic posts" was the big headline from Yahoo! News on 11/23/08. But soon Progressives bemoaned the fact that the Labor Secretary was not included on the economic team, concluding that somehow Obama transitioned to the right. Obama gathered more advisers, including elder statesman, Paul Volker. What do Progressives do in the interim? One group of peace activists will gather in Chicago after the first of the year to remind our president-elect that he promised to get out of Iraq, perhaps because Robert Gates is willing to stay on as Secretary of Defense. Members of the new administration are making plans to move to Washington, as are the newest members of Congress.
Transition today -- Our current president (OCP) has just 50 more days in the White House. We have less than two months to worry about the rule of law under his Republican administration. We can think about what will be required to restore the Constitution, to return to protecting civil liberties, to close Guantanamo, all the while assuring national security.
Transition into December is upon us and personal and political issues loom large. At midnight Thursday, the country began its Christmas shopping season in the midst of an economic crisis of unknown proportions. One hour after Thanksgiving Day seems too soon to start the Christmas season.
Tragedy -- Black Friday brought the irony of an increase in shopping and lowered business profits, along with the tragic and terrible news of early-bird shoppers trampling a Walmart employee to death on Long Island. For days, half-way around the world, Mumbai, India was attacked by a dozen terrorists resulting in a horribly senseless loss of life. What other nations were responsible, if any? Officials wonder what to look for in the bloodied and wrecked hotels, a restaurant, a train station and a hospital. Can we learn anything from the last living terrorist?
"Too much, too soon, too hard" is the tragic place those left behind confront. India is but an eye-blink away in this very small world where the only thing that seems assuredly constant is change. When it feels too hard to absorb so much all at once, turn off the television and the computer. It is sometimes too hard to take in so much information until we have a good night's sleep. Sunrise can bring the possibility of making more sense of current insanities. As you get your feet back on the ground while change swirls around, "thanking God for small favors." Begin the day with celebration, because we truly do have much for which to be thankful.
View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.