Barack Obama: Rebuilding a Nation
There can be no question that the nation will be faced with further frustration in the coming months and years. There are no magic solutions which will resolve the numerous problems that this nation is confronted with. The only good news may be that we now have a President who is actually committed to rebuilding a nation that is substantially fractured on many fronts.
Our new President will have majority support in Congress and the process of moving legislation forward would seem to be a greater possibility on the grander scale. Unfortunately, the culture in Washington does not lend itself to total commitment or even loyalty within a particular party. There is the institutionally embedded society of lobbyist influence and opportunism which leads to wasteful spending or pork barrel spending. This provides a potential obstacle course rather than a freeway to legislative goals.
One of the essential objectives which must be achieved by this new administration is to impact the status quo in a way that causes legislators to reassess what type of successes they seek to achieve. They will be asked to consider that which is best for all of America rather than individual constituencies. In doing so, some may feel their impacts will be diminished in the view of their supporters who hold their political futures in their hands. The duty will fall to the new President to bring the nation through clearly stated objectives producing visible results and that the Congress is operating effectively for the good of the many.
A cultural change in the nation’s capital is key to allowing the Obama Administration to move forward quickly and efficiently. However, the nature of cultural change is that it typically requires a significant period of time to take hold. This will mean that President Obama will have to take an alternative course that is unavoidable and also prudent. He will have to speak to the people. President Obama will have to speak to the nation frequently and keep them apprised of his plans and his progress.
Likely, President Obama will have to use this technique to essentially hold Congress hostage when they are slow to respond in support of needed and beneficial legislation. Pressure will have to be placed on both the House and Senate, causing them to be visible to their individual constituencies when they fail to mobilize efforts which could yield progress and solutions. This must, and I suspect will be, the technique that we will see employed and it will most certainly have desired effect. I believe that this will, for the most part, be subtle pressure, as a broad measure of support will be in place in many cases. The importance of the President speaking to the nation cannot be overstated however.
Not only is the President-elect a gifted speaker with the ability to make clear points in a thoughtful way, he is also aware of the political impacts of the response he is able to draw from the American people. I think that in a very significant way we will see that when President Obama addresses the nation regarding policy proposals, he will receive tremendous support. This approach will permeate Washington with the type of mood that may have never been felt before and in a way that will create real pressure on legislators.
All of this assumes, as I do, that President Obama has a team and a plan which will produce viable solutions in a way that are palatable and as a minimum, visibly tangible to the American public. There will have to be teams and individuals identified to work on relatively short-term problems like health care and the housing crisis. There will have to be diplomatic strides made and articulated which will provide visible signs of progress and relief with regard to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden must become a target of U.S. high intention. The many job creation and economic stimulus proposals that were central to the Obama campaign will have to be crafted and rolled out. Refinements must be presented with regularity.
The energy crisis will have to be one of the initial programs of focus, understanding that major impacts will not be potentially realized for years to come. These examples are only a few of the many challenges this nation faces and which require prompt executive and legislative attention. The path to success in resolving many of these matters may lie beyond Washington however. It may be that like the result of this election, the American people will have to become involved and provide a voice on a continuing basis. This may well be a time in American politics that requires Americans to get involved like they have not been asked to do in a very long time.
The good news is that our new President will have lots of opportunities to make his presence felt in a positive way. I believe that he wants his legacy to be one of positive change. There is no question that his presence alone will have little or no impact in the lives of average Americans. He has got to hit the ground running. He must create a shock wave that signals a new era right away. Fortunately, if his life and his campaign are any indication, he is up to the task. This presidential campaign season has been historic on many levels, but those with clear eyes know that the racial aspect of this contest are not the only impacts of consequence. The entire campaign process was revolutionized by a man who is now being characterized by many as one of the brightest political minds in America. Americans can rest assured that if there is a way to attack the problems that this nation faces, Barack Obama has the intellect and ability to craft and deploy the appropriate strategies.
Going forward, I encourage you to expect the unexpected. President Obama will most probably operate deftly in the center lane and his repeated pledge to be the President of all Americans will be an obvious focus. It will soon be clear that this is not the Democrats turn. This is a time for benefit and progress for all Americans.
When the President asks, I hope that you will again and again make your desires known.
L. A. Walker, © Leon A. Walker