The American people and the world spent the last eight years in a binary universe, imposed by our own government. The mantra of the era expressed simply and not so elegantly by our current president "You are with us, or against us." In this world of good versus evil, patriots versus traitors, capitalists' versus socialists, and trickle down or nothing, many simple decent words lost their real meaning or were redefined to mean different things.
The endless pounding on our brains by the political establishment worked, and the world shrunk into a few simple and easy to digest ideas. The government has to be small, people have to take care of their own, and America must be strong militarily.
After all, it is only in America, that you can find the neediest arguing against higher taxis on the affluent -two and half percent- of the population. It is only in America, you would meet many families who can't afford health insurance rallying against market-based health care system--where the government reserves the right to compete for a better rate on behalf of its citizens. It is only in America, people who paid the ultimate price in Iraq, and Afghanistan wars, rarely question the failed government policies that destroyed their lives, and our standing in the world, without improving the security of the country or the world. It is only in America, people call Britain, and the Scandinavian countries socialists. With all these misconceptions, we find ourselves facing the challenge of our lifetime, globally, and domestically.
The global nature of the challenges facing our country in credit availability, job creation, energy, security, and the environment requires a worldview, extensive coordination, and pragmatic problem-solving skills.
There are, as well, host of challenges that we have to address domestically to enable America to compete with the next generation of industrialized nations. Challenges such as the creation of a world-class education system which doesn't end at twelfth grade, and a health system that guarantees our citizens' dignity, and takes the burden off the backs of our corporations.
Now, that President Elect Barak Obama announced all the major appointments to his cabinet I have to ask my brethren on the left to wipe their tears, and ask my friends on the right to quit celebrating, and let us all start the real work.
The good news is--all experts agree--that the individuals selected to head the new administration are precisely who we need to address the type of problems we face. It is also the first sign that America made the right choice electing a president that has the intellectual capacity to understand and work with a new post-ideology world. I wrote during the heated general election, arguing that Obama is a centrist and pragmatist who intends to lead our country down that path.http://www.opednews.com/articles/Independent-or-Flip-Floppe-by-sameh-abdelaziz-080708-160.html
However, a centrist, and pragmatist government is just a first step in a long road. The new administration should have the courage, the vision, and the will to reverse the negative impact of the misrepresentation of the government's role in the lives of its citizens, and America's role in the world. It is only through educating the public about their rights and duties in a capitalist society, the new government will earn the full understanding and support of every American.
We need once again to believe that we have a government from the people and for the people. That defense is only one of the many tasks and responsibilities of the government. That the taxes we pay, and the votes we cast, should guarantee a decent life to every citizen willing to work, that education and health care are rights for every American, not privileges, and it is not a socialist or a capitalist principle, but a basic human right.
We need to believe once more that we are all Americans and patriots; we need to respect our differences, and appreciate our disagreements.
We need to understand the limitations of military forces, and the power of ideas. We need to defeat fundamentalism in our country, and abroad through creating opportunities, and better future. We need to work as partners with other nations for our interests and the good of all.
We need desperately to feel good about our country and ourselves.It is only a few days before inauguration. The list of challenges is long and complex. The mood in the county is grim at best. However, if the incoming president draw on his experience as a community organizer to enlist and educate all Americans, we will come at the other end a stronger nation. The first priority of the new government should be reprogramming us!