The new president helped make real the idea we were on new footing and new ground. The swearing in ceremony will quite possibly be one of the most storied in our history. We had transcended something dark on the wings of something illuminating. The first African American president helped solidify the beginning of a new chapter in U.S. history.
The new president first made fast work of helping restore our global image and still maintains this work. He was and is very well liked at home as well, but that can't carry all charged with change. Then came the stimulus plan for our economy, which entailed a large investment of taxpayer funds. Next we headed into health care reform. Although there were many positive facets of the proposed legislation it required yet another massive injection of taxpayer funds.
The new administration and the new congress charged with bringing about change went to work on their solution for our economic woes, but it was a prescription that would take time to really show solid results. We anticipated that going into this new presidential term and expected hard times no matter who was elected. Both major party candidates raised expectations regarding an economic recovery which in their words could take years to be realized.
The most controversial aspect of the stimulus was the price tag. A bill focusing on getting people back to work and shoring up the financial sector may not have been half as contentious were it not for the massive investment. Yet, after months of prolonged grueling public debate we were immediately asked to invest in another expensive program, one that had been questioned by the administration's own Congressional Budget Office.
The idea of health care reform is something most people can agree on some level is needed, but there was never anything in between to help to take people's minds off of spending. Nothing to help soften the blow.
Perhaps we could have dealt with tying up one or two other issues from the past first. The financial recession is a mess carried over from the last year to year and a half of the last bush administration. That was not the only inheritance. In voting for change we sought to be borne from the spectre of lies and power grabs of those dark times.
We were angry about being lied to about the Iraq war. We were upset about no bid contracts tossed Halliburton's way - something shady and investigation worthy in and of itself. There were messes regarding spending and over-charges tied not just to Halliburton but also numerous private security contractors.
Halliburton and it's contractors neglected to provide services to U.S. troops in harms way they were contractually obligated to. That could have and still could be resolved. Investigations into CIA contractors who were paid to be trained by taxpayers left then came back as private contractors at twice the price to taxpayers was another stain on our great nation. Resolving these issues would be tying up some of the loose ends from a murky past.
It would mean resolution and that's always a good thing. These measures would be cost cutting and could be touted as such. They would be promises made to voters for a change in direction that was promised but then skimped on. They would not necessitate reams of prosecutions but in many cases just the outing of the facts and truths and rolling back of illegal measures. We've waited for that as voters who expected delivery not the empty promises the opposition warned us of.
We backed change because we were told invasions of our private lives implemented by the previous administration were no longer needed and would be investigated and rolled back. We remembered this and expected this. No sooner did the current administration take office than it began cutting promises dear to so many from left, right and center who felt burned by the former administration. We expected accountability and policies not hollow words.
Closing Guantanamo and rights afforded detainees that fell more in line with our constitution and international laws were definitely forward-looking, but that was primarily beneficial to people who were not Americans.
That isn't to say they should not be afforded the kind of treatment we expect our soldiers should be treated with if captured. We needed to set an example of world leadership and did so. It was proof we had not devolved into barbarians as brutal as those we once pointed at.
But when people turn on CNN and see intrusions of American's privacy allowed to proceed, but 9/11 planners being granted rights denied them by the Bush administration it feels like a smack in the face to average Americans. That's important. The many people on all sides that voted for change voted for what was promised. We expect follow through. Otherwise we were once again simply voting for the lesser of two evils. We know not all campaign promises are followed through on but expect more than lemons for our loyalty.
It feels like your average Americans were in the frying pan and have had the heat turned up on them without any real break. I believe most steps taken to help us recover financially were needed. Some form of health care reform is a win win as long as we can afford it.
With the price of medicine and private health care something obviously needs to be done. But we have seen no meaty feel good offerings heaped on our plates. Change was a dish we looked forward to with eager anticipation and a hardy appetite. So far it has not quite lived up to the hype. Though there's still time the next elections are getting closer and closer and some politicians don't seem ready. It feels like the second shoe dropped but the first was lopped off due to fears of what would happen at the dance.
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