Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Now we Need To

Today's Link
Middle of the Road

Saying for the Day
The world is governed more by appearance than realities so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it. ~Daniel Webster
Picture of the Day

This says what I feel this morning so much better than I can.

Hail To The Chief
by Michael Gerson

WASHINGTON -- I come to this moment of national decision with deep concerns about the next president. His victory is likely to unleash an ideological and vengeful Democratic Congress. In the testing of a long campaign, Barack Obama has seemed thoughtful, but sometimes hesitant and unsure of his bearings. He promises outreach and healing, but holds to a liberalism that sees no need for innovation. And as the result of a financial panic that unfairly undermined all Republicans, Obama has stumbled into the most dangerous kind of victory. A mandate for change but not for ideas. A mandate without clear meaning.

But a presidential election is more than a political choice; it is a moral dividing line. It involves not just the triumph of a majority but a transfer of legitimacy that binds the minority as well. This is a largely undiscussed topic in modern political debate: legitimacy. It is a kind of democratic magic that turns votes into authority. It does not require political agreement. It does imply a patriotic respect for the processes of government and a determination to honor the president for the sake of the office he holds.

In the last few decades, the magic of legitimacy has seemed to fade. Opponents of President Bill Clinton turned their disagreements (and Clinton's own human failures) into an assault on his power. Some turned to insane conspiracy theories, including accusations of politically motivated murder. After President George W. Bush's re-election, elements of the left began their own attack on his legitimacy, talking of impeachment while repeating their own lunatic theories of deception and criminality.

After a deserved honeymoon, the new president is likely to find that the intensity of this bitterness has only gathered. Because of the ideological polarization of cable TV news, talk radio and the Internet, Americans can now get their information from entirely partisan sources. They can live, if they choose, in an ideological world of their own creation, viewing anyone outside that world as an idiot or criminal, and finding plenty who will cheer their intemperance. Liberals have perfected this machinery of disdain over the last few years. Given the provocation, the same approach is likely to be turned against the new president by the right as well.

Barack Obama's first years may well be dominated by a recession and a swiftly arming Iran. Some conservatives will be tempted to take joy from his inevitable struggles; others to spin conspiracy theories from his background and associations. It will be easy to blame every emerging challenge on the faults and failures of an inexperienced young president. But it will be more difficult for me.

I remember the vivid days of possibility that follow a presidential victory. I happened to be in the Roosevelt Room in January 2001 just as the portrait of Teddy Roosevelt, heroic on horseback, was moved over the fireplace, where it hangs during Republican administrations. And I know someone will be watching when Franklin Roosevelt is moved back to the place of honor, feeling the same hope and burden that I felt.

There is a tremendous sense of history and responsibility that comes with serving in the White House. You gain an appreciation for the conflicted choices others have faced -- and for the untamed role of history in frustrating the best of plans. It becomes easier to understand a president's challenges, and harder to question his motives. Ultimately, I believe that every president, and the staff he hires, feels the duty to serve a single national interest. And ultimately we need our presidents to succeed, not to fail for our own satisfaction or vindication.

This presidency in particular should be a source of pride even for those who do not share its priorities. An African-American will take the oath of office blocks from where slaves were once housed in pens and sold for profit. He will sleep in a house built in part by slave labor, near the room where Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation with firm hand. He will host dinners where Teddy Roosevelt in 1901 entertained the first African-American as a guest; command a military that was not officially integrated until 1948. Every event, every act, will complete a cycle of history. It will be the most dramatic possible demonstration that the promise of America -- so long deferred -- is not a lie.

I suspect I will have many substantive criticisms of the new administration, beginning soon enough. Today I have only one message for Barack Obama, who will be our president, my president: Hail to the Chief.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Well Herman is all excited. Another of his prophecies came true. Obama has been elected. That makes three prophecies and three hits. He is batting one hundred. He is quick to point out his prophecies are clear not like those stupid driblets. Like the latest one. Who in the world can figure that out ?

Melli sent and old picture to prove that there was a cow on the Bowen market roof but Herman said it doesn’t count.

Tommy UK has the entire Tommy Club trying to figure out the meaning of the things on the roof of the Masonic building. He is convinced it has something to do with the driblet . Solve that mystery they might prevent the shadow altogether.
Nancy posted a picture of the three things on the wall of the coffee shop and is offering free coffee and a bun for a month to anybody who can figure it out. So far nobody has managed to do so.

Wrap Up
My voice is a bit better today and my oxygen is still in the normal range. I got up this morning and found the article you see above in my e-mail. I pulled the entry I had for the day ( even though it had a comment) and substituted that article because I felt it needed to be shared. Then I scanned pictures for most of the morning. In the afternoon Betty and I worked on the layout. First we couldn't find the plaster cloth but when we did a little more cleaning there it was. Now the mountains are done. Betty even created a waterfall out of the blue plastic on the Depends. She is very creative. Tomorrow we start on the scenery. Coming back up I visited some of my links. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Dragonstar said...

My right to vote is one for which my forbears fought and suffered. I feel it is my duty to them, not to any politicians, to exercise that right. I turn out, even if I feel the need to waste or damage my vote. This is the only way I can repay those who bought me the right.
A muscle, an ability, a right ... they all have one thing in common. Exercise them, or they lose strength and disappear.

At least it's all over now until next time!

3:14 AM  
Blogger Lori's Minute said...

I thought I would be the first to comment today but I'm not.

The Princess Bride for President!

4:55 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

I pray for our nation's acceptance and tolerance in backing our new President. I pray for unity between the parties in both the House and the Senate that this President will be allowed to move our country forward. And I pray for our new President's safety in land still full of racial and political hot-heads.

I think I've got the puzzle! Blackbirds off their rocker often land in cow poop! Right?

5:07 AM  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

It took a Jimmy Carter to bring us Ronald Reagan. There is hope.

On a happier note, YAY for Herman! Petrovich must be shaking in his boots.

5:47 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

This is a historic day, regardless of your political leanings. I am suggesting to my students that they buy two or three newspapers so they can show them to their children or grandchildren in years to come!

If those three things posted by Nancy on the coffee shop wall are bird, rocking chair and cow - my guess is that the cow represents Gateway Computer Company out of North Sioux City, South Dakota! Gateway Computer's symbol is boxes that are black and white and look like cows!

Take care!

6:37 AM  
Blogger juliana said...

hmmm... what could a cormorant stretching his wings in front of a rocking chair mean? to grab your suitcases and flee?

9:31 AM  
Blogger Living on the Spit said...

I always love visting with you. Your posts help me remember I was once an intellect with a brain.

I love reading your blog, Dr. John.


10:17 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

You're right- it says it all. Regardless of whether or not we voted for Obama, indeed, Hail to the Chief.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Carletta said...

A nice post Dr. John!
It is time to move on. Time to put the rhetoric aside and get on with the business. I hope the 'change' comes swift.

4:56 PM  
Blogger butterflies said...

Im praying for peace and some new kind of dialogue world wide between all countries.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous noble pig said...

What a beautiful writing that was...

5:59 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

I really didn't like the tone of Mr. Gerson's essay and felt any sense of being concilliatory was quickly followed up with deep cynicism and snarkiness.

I looked him up. He is a close associate of Karl Rove. A vehement and intolerant Evangelical. He coined the phrase Axis of Evil - although there are others who say he stole it from them LOL. How funny that they would fight over being the fathers of a lie.

He was in on the meetings that led to lying about Iraq's connection to 9/11 and their possesion of WMDs.

I actually find people like him worse than the ones who I am sure will come flying out of the woodwork to undermine President Obama. At least they'll do it openly. Mr Gerson once again sends out very mixed and insincere thoughts.

On a more important note - I am very glad that your voice is better today

Peace and Hope :)

8:24 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Hi it's me again LOL

My security settings won't let me comment on your peace post above. I have tried all that I can think of to figure out why that is. It lets me comment here!

Anyway - wanted to say Peace!

7:19 AM  
Blogger tsduff said...

bird rock net...

9:57 PM  
Blogger tsduff said...

ps: I have great HOPE for our nation under our the rule of our new President Elect. Great post.

10:01 PM  

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