Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I-day: The New Era

I'm feeling pretty good, but I'm not sure if that's as much from the Valium as the fact that we have a new leader for our country. I still want to call Mr. Obama "The Kid" if only because he is younger than I am, but out of deference for the office, I will settle for "The New Guy". In previous years I could usually be cajoled into trusting the man in charge because he is older and therefore wiser than us whipper-snappers, but the New Guy seems to have the answers and the attitude going forward, so I'm good for it.

And he will have his hands full. Let others dictate the depth of the mess we're currently in, I think that most Americans just want someone to fix it. I disagree with the idea of full forgiveness, of not going after the thieves and bozos responsible, though. If something was illegal on 3 November it is just as illegal on 21 January. Indeed, I think that not going after the problem children of the first Bush administration paved the way for their reappearance under the second. But then, I am a vengeful and petty god, and no amount of Valium is going to change that.

And the new guy will have plethora of his own bad choices, mistakes, and poor policies, though hopefully not in the droves we have seen in the past eight years. And while our media will get the vapors over any criminality, perceived or real, they will have a bit of a climb to better the travails of the previous administration. Things to consider before rushing breathlessly to air some new scandal:

Does this particular odious policy equal that of sending us to war on ginned up data?

Does this disastrous decision equal that of letting an American city drown?

Does this particular personal failing equal shooting a 79-year old man in the face with a shotgun?

Let's admit it, there is a high bar set by the New Guy's predecessors. And with it a new level of attention. I expect there to be a sudden concern when the undersecretary of labor is revealed to have pulled the tags off her mattress, or when some aid wrote in the box marked "Do not write in this box" the words "OK".

And that's fair, in that we were asking for better attention by the media than we got for eight years. But I'll be asking the previous questions when the media tries to get me to share their indignation. I fully expect the talking heads to be shocked, simply shocked, to discover that politics would be occurring in government buildings.

As for the speech itself, I missed the bulk of it, driving down to a follow-up appointment with my GP, but there was one line that stuck in a inauguration speech filled with choice bits. Here's the phrase, echoing Franklin:

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

Rejecting false choices, indeed. It should be strong and interesting four years ahead.

More later,

Update; Curmudgeon I may be, but THIS made me laugh out loud.