INSIDE OUT: Part One – Government

Our world has been turned inside out, topsy-turvey, resulting in a place that no longer even pretends to foster and live by human ideals.  In recent months though, via large ways, such as governance, and in smaller ways, such as education and child-rearing, we just might be on the path to mending our foolish ways thanks to a man called Barack Obama.

President Obama’s speech in Egypt was magnificent.  It was a long talk, 55 minutes, and I include the video here:

Also, here is the link for the complete text of the speech:

Our President is living up to his campaign promises, which is no surprise since those promises represent his guiding principles.  Not only does he preach them, he also lives by them.  In the five short months he has held office, he has indeed visited nations with whom we have had issues, if not wars.  Through understanding and talking, President Obama is trying to open doors and lay the groundwork for mutual respect between hostile nations.  Yes, his critics are quick to admit that despite his eloquent way with words and ideas, he has yet to back them up with specific solutions.  Whoa!  Give the man a chance.  First, he must get a foot in the door and lay down the framework for mutual trust, a trust that he is a worthy, caring and competent leader and a trust that he is very much different from our previous “leader”, Bush.  He is as straightforward in his speech as he is in his ideology.  Obama has just the knack for getting to the heart of issues, calling them as he sees them, admitting previous shortcomings, and setting the tone for future relationships.  All of this is tempered with honesty and a real intent to better our world through understanding and open lines of communication.

There were a few points, among very many, that were my favorite.  President Obama made it very clear that the religion of Islam is not America’s enemy; the extremists are all of humanity’s enemies and so is any faction that reaps terror on this earth, regardless of their religion or political beliefs.  Such divisive and destructive groups will be dealt with quickly and severely.  No pandering to any kind of terror machine.  President Obama called for an “end to empowering hatred over peace, conflict over cooperation and to seek a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim world. ” The conciliatory words have finally been spoken and the door to international understanding has now been pushed open, if just a bit.  If the world’s moderates, of all national origins and religions, were to decry and condemn extremism in any shape or form, while providing for the basic needs of their people, extremists would not have a leg to stand on.  This goes for the Israelis as well as the Palestinians, the Sunnis and the Shi’a in Iraq, the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland and yes, even the Democrats and Republicans in America.

There is no way that I can paraphrase all the high points in President Obama’s speech; there are too many and he does it best himself, so please take the time to listen (if you must choose, listen to Obama rather than read Yo Mama).  His plea for nations to cooperate instead of compete for the sake of justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings is the overriding theme.  This is a man who, I daresay, if given eight years of leadership, will turn around not only his country but the world at large.  At th every least, he will set the groundwork for international harmony, understanding and respect.  It is an arduous process that will require a long time in the making, and then an even longer time in its maintenance.

Read this article by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times:

President Obama’s instincts are clear and he pulls no punches.  There is much business and hard work to be done on the international scene and he is getting down to it, point by point, ugly truth by ugly truth and plea after plea for trust that his administration will not deceive and lie as did the former administration.  A new beginning indeed.

Last night I watched portions of NBC’s “Inside the White House” with Brian Williams.  The program showed what an average day is like for the President and Lady O.  What amazed me was their dedication to family, i.e. starting the “peace process” at home, passing the torch one child, one generation, at a time.  During Bush/Cheney, all I saw coming out of the White House was fear, scare tactics, and then a retreat to and dependence on using such terms as “war”, “terrorism”, “God’s power”, “secrecy necessary for national security” as a rationalization for attaining personal financial and political aims.  Bush/Cheney wrapped itself in vague, generalized and often untrue statements to justify disingenuous actions.  President Obama is as honest with us as the day is long.  He presents his policy rationales, backed up with as much information that he can safely make public, and then makes his decisions.

This is the inversion of “inside out” that I speak of.  Bush, in all of his anti-intellectualism and broad , blind duty to “God” (as an excuse for ignoring  the necessary, detailed leg work required for progress to ensue), never took the time or had the interest in figuring out what really matters and the steps necessary to get those things done.   How could he?  As a result of being so out of touch with himself, he was never in touch with the world.   His own life was a demonstration of the AVOIDANCE of issues, rather than the delving into the cauldron and working from the inside out to better the world.

On the other side of the spectrum, President Obama and Lady O. start at home first, at the most basic level of creating a better world, and then expand outward to encompass all of humanity.  They do the leg work at every level; they actually think about things and then work very hard to accomplish their goals.  They EMBRACE issues, no matter how tough some might be, and work from the inside out, oftentimes by setting themselves up as examples.  In this way, the Obama’s message resonates within their own family, their nation and throughout the entire globe.  The Obamas have a strong inner core; Bush had no such strength.  Thus, it is no wonder that Bush’s leadership was void of any meaning.

President Obama is setting the stage for no less than a major overhaul in our way of thinking, our outlook.  That change of heart must precede any plan of action.  Over the last two years as we Americans learned more about Barack Obama, we have come to respect and support what he stands for.  The world’s citizenry will come to that place of appreciation as well.  Yesterday’s speech was only the first step in setting our world right side up again.

Please check back tomorrow for “Inside Out: Part Two – Education”.  See you then.


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