The Period Versus the Semicolon

Call me naive, a bleeding heart and even a believer in fairy tales.  I admit to all of those. Yet, you can not take away from me the awe and respect I continue to feel from Obama’s speech last night.

Read Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day speech, which Dr. No brought to my attention.  The similarities in tone and content regarding Obama’s words are remarkable:

The strength of his convictions, though not a guarantee of success for what is ailing this country, is demonstrative of his overwhelming ability.  Where did this man come from?  His strong concept of self, backed and supported by his great intellect and history of very hard work, belies his upbringing by a single, very young mother in a home where his father was absent.  For all intents and purposes, this man should have been a statistic, not a great leader as he is.  To boot, he is an honest and sincerely caring individual.

Let’s talk about punctuation for a moment.  Bush’s response to the economic meltdown last fall was to push through an antidote consisting of $750 billion.  Well-intentioned, but not well planned or properly supervised, this move was the final “period” on a reign that never dealt with yes, the tedium that complicated problems require.  His bailout package was the last nail in the coffin of his inept tenure, his “period”, his final band-aid to patch our short term problems rather than solve our long term ones.  Surely this final statement of Number 43 was just another of his remedies that had only surface value, not any meaningful implications for our future.

As an aside, let me add that Governor Jindal’s Republican response last night also was steeped in the same superficiality that typified Bush’s eight years.  Jindal does have my heartfelt sympathy though because anyone who had to follow Obama’s speech last night would have never, could have never, risen to the occasion.  That said, Jindal showed the bankruptcy of his party, plain and simple.

I have used the word “strict” many times when describing Obama’s actions.  He was strict once again last night.  He will not abide the wasteful, corrupt spending of corporations who receive TARP funds.  Heaven knows, Bush threw the money , OUR MONEY, out there for the taking and no ethical restrictions were put in place to accompany these bestowals.  As a result, we have been taken to the laundry one more time.  Many of you have forwarded to me Maureen Dowd’s piece from the New York Times today.  I thank you and include it below:

We have been put on notice that accountability will have precedence, that these “loans” shall be used to get the credit markets moving again.  The TARP funds shall not be used for outrageous bonuses, junkets and personal perks of top level management.  I believe Obama, who has assigned Biden to be our ultimate watchdog, when he said abuses of the past will no longer be tolerated.

So if George Bush was the “period” in our recent void of governance, President Obama is the “semicolon” in our present and future desire for effective leadership.  A semicolon is used to imply that more will follow.  His plans are ambitious and make sense on paper and ideally, the “more” to follow will be reflective of the deep forethought and tedious mechanics that this administration has poured into their current rescue and reform package.  Now we need to wait and see if these proposals will translate into real solutions.  It is a crap shoot.  We are working without a net because our current circumstances are not a duplicate of any other crisis that came before.  What worries me is that the stock market is tanking once again today.  I view the financial markets as a preview of what is to come.  True, many experts believe the worst is yet to come.  The market discounts the news, good or bad, way in advance of the actual result.  So I worry about today’s fluctuations and fret about the implications for our survival.  Have we just not yet hit bottom?  Are our problems not really fixable?  Will the future bring an even worse scenario than we are anticipating?

I choose to believe that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, but not without further hardships, sacrifice and compromise along the way.  Once again, call me a Pollyanna if you must.  My intuition and gut feeling, both of which I have come to trust, is telling me differently.  The present state of our union, if allowed to continue, ensures disaster.  We need to see some progress and actualization of Obama’s plan.  This will surely legitimize a renewed hope for a sounder, more ethical and productive nation on all fronts.


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