Today, as of 12 noon EST, George W. Bush has joined the ranks of the 11.1 million people that were listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as unemployed last December. Eight years ago, the rate was 5.7 million, nearly half of today.

This, as well as many of the other woes of the country, are not specifically his fault, but he, his party and politics as usual have had a lot to do with the creation of the situations we find our nation in.

Our new President, Barack H. Obama, has run on a platform of change, not a particularly new platform but he has definitely worked it to his advantage during the campaign season. I hope he can fulfill at least a quarter of what he has said.

One of the things that I hope both he and his administration are aware of is that playing the race card will only work for a short time before the American people stop finding it clever and just find it patronizing.

Larry Elder, a local radio personality and author, wrote a book several years ago called “The Ten Things You Can’t Say In America” where he discusses one of his recurring themes, about how “White Condescension Is as Bad as Black Racism” about which he says “Blacks Are More Racist that Whites” (titles of chapters 2 and 1 respectively).

In the discussions he talks about how we seem to expect less from someone who is perceived as part of a minority group. I am hoping this is not something that will be a basic tenant of the current administration or the media.

My expectations of the new administration are just as high for this administration as it would be for any other. I have no plans of cutting it some slack because the point-man is of African decent, neither should you.

During the campaigns, we heard MANY people go directly after the fear buttons of the populace, fortunately it seems that it did not either work as well as some would have hoped or the American people are starting to show signs of stirring. We heard scare tactics like:

  • Since his father is a Muslim, he’s going to install sharia (Islamic law) upon the land
  • His middle name is Hussein and on many occasions called him Saddam Hussein Obama to associate him with Saddam Hussein
  • He is a socialist (a major power word for Republicans) and will undo capitalism

Now that he is President we will see what he will make of the opportunity that has been placed before him.

As far as his predecessor, George W. Bush, we will see what history will make of his administration as well as see what kind of ex-President he will become.

Some Presidents do a much better job as ex-Presidents than they did in office, look at Jimmy Carter. As President, let’s be honest, he was a bit of a wet noodle and not a particularly strong leader. After he was out of office, he has become quite the example of what many hold dear in a leader as well as a human being to the extent that he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Somehow, I just do not hold such lofty goals for the departing administration (may the universe PLEASE surprise me on this one).

I am reminded of a joke that may likely play itself out over the next year or so…

Boris Yeltsin was starting his first day in office as President of the Russian Federation when he came across the outgoing President Mikhail Gorbachev cleaning out his desk.

President Yeltsin asked him if he had any suggestions as to how to perform the duties of President to which he was now responsible.

Former President Gorbachev told him, “When you get into a jam that you cannot get out of, open the center drawer of the desk and you will find two envelopes. Take the first one out and follow its instructions. Later, when a second unsolvable situation comes up, take out the second and do likewise.”

Time went along as it does and eventually a situation arose that President Yeltsin could not find a solution to. He remembered the envelopes and pulled out the first on which read, “Blame the previous administration.”

He followed the instructions and sure enough it worked like a charm.

More time passed and another situation came up and after trying everything he could think of, he opened the second envelope which read, “Sit down and write two letters…”

Lets hope that there is more than a joke that describes this new administration and that they truly do succeed in creating the change that this country both deserves and in my opinion needs.

Let us hope that we truly are seeing a new dawn in Washington DC that works to the benefit of the masses instead of an elite of businessmen and corporations. Hope springs eternal.

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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