Obama’s Speech

This has been a bleak year for me.  The gig that covered my nut evaporated.  Seemingly every year or two this occurs.  But I always have hope a new job will appear.  Right now, I don’t have that hope.

I open the newspaper and find articles telling me it’s worse than everybody says.  That the banks are not lending the money we gave them because they’re insolvent.  And while elected representatives with assured incomes try to triangulate and guess what’s good for themselves, their constituents, keeping their jobs all the while, I just feel they’re out of touch, they don’t know how bad it truly is outside the beltway.

I saved each and every dollar I made.  Not literally, but close.  Because I had a brush with debt twenty years ago whose emotional scars I still bear.  I lived frugally, in fear that an impasse might occur, and I would have to rely on my savings, protected by the FDIC because of their limited number, yet sufficient to get me through.  But not everybody did.  Some I blame, but some I don’t.  If you’re feeding a family of four, and you’ve got a mortgage and you lose your job…  How long until your economic viability collapses?

Be sure to see the movie "Milk".  I went reluctantly, but am so glad I did.  Not because Sean Penn embodied the character so well, which he did, but because of what a state congressman says to Sean right after their debate, when Sean is telling him that he’s going to win.  This already elected official says it won’t happen, because Penn/Milk is minus one crucial element, hope.  You’ve got to give people hope.

I haven’t watched a Presidential address since I lived on the east coast.  They usually occur before the work day is over in California.  And what is said is the same old nonsense.  But tonight, I entered the bedroom and found Felice watching our President speak, and I got hooked.

The standing ovations bugged me.  These are the same people who put roadblocks in front of progress, who say the right thing on camera, but sabotage our future when no one is watching.  But the black man at the podium, as he continued to speak, I felt a fire start to burn inside.  At first just a flame, but when he spoke of taxing the richest two percent of our citizens and stopping torture, I cheered.  Someone could see the truth, someone was trying to make a difference.

And maybe you don’t agree with Obama’s policies.  I’ve no need to debate you.  But when our country is as fucked up economically as it is, when all anyone can speak of is recession, where everywhere you turn you find someone out of work, we need a leader, who just doesn’t tell us to shop, but gives us hope.

Yes, we do need to shop, consumer spending will help eradicate this crisis.  But we’re not going to part with our cash until we believe our personal coffers will be refilled.  Who’s going to give us confidence that the future will be bright, that we will not only survive, but prosper?

I used to rely on rock stars.  But when Bruce Springsteen makes a deal with Wal-Mart and then says he is performing at the Super Bowl because he’s got an album to sell, I end up deflated.  Who is doing what’s right, what he feels inside, who is not worried about his personal advancement and public approval?

Funny that it’s our President.

I wasn’t a fan at first.  But when he spoke of Google, he hooked me.  Finally a candidate that lived in the same world I did.

I don’t have a problem with you being rich, as long as it’s not at my expense, as long as you don’t try to protect your lifestyle, denying the working man a chance to get ahead.  For too long this country has been about the haves and the have-nots.  The uneducated people Obama spoke of believing the American Dream was as vibrant as ever when even the right wing paper of record, the "Wall Street Journal", said it was harder than ever to get ahead.

I love my country.  And I know you do too.  We criticize it because we want it to be better.  And now, we’re willing to sacrifice in order for all to progress, not only ourselves, but the unknown masses that make up society.  We’ve got work to do.  But we will only do it if we have hope, that by standing together and working hard things will get better. Without hope, we’ve got malaise.  We’ve got suicide.  We’ve got heartbreak.

Tonight I have hope.

I hope you do too.

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