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Turn the Light on

Can Obama bring change to America?


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Most people have gotten caught up in the historical significance of having a black man win the office of the presidency, but put aside the history and the election hype for a moment. This is about the direction of our government. Now that the elation over electing a black man president seems to be subsiding, I hope people can look at this thing realistically.

I'm happy Barack Obama won the election. Personally, I feel there was no other reasonable choice. Forget about the fact that Obama is black. His candidacy offered the most practical alternative to the nation's present political course. And right now, we're headed to hell in a hand basket, and most Americans don't have a clue.

Obama ran a campaign that promised to consider how people in other parts of the world see things. He promises to talk to those other folks. I think that is where our government should go. Not everyone believes as we do, and when we fail to consider how other people think, it costs us dearly.

The Bush administration has only served the needs of corporate America and its military industrial complex — which happens to bring our children home from Afghanistan and Iraq maimed or in body bags — and the American public has allowed itself to be misled with buzzwords like terrorism and patriotism. Prejudice and stupidity are exploited with smoke and mirrors.

The war and the nation's recessive economy are residual effects of a government hell-bent on protecting special interests at the expense of American citizens. I'm amazed that so many people actually thought there was an option other than electing an Obama administration to countermand the continuation of the present course.

One McCain supporter told me he voted for his military veteran peer because Obama's campaign represented a dangerous shift toward socialism. I asked him what he thinks the billions in crop subsidies paid to farmers or the money the administration just appropriated to the banking industry should be called.

In my opinion, the Obama administration represents a departure from politics as usual, and not a dramatic change. How can there be wholesale change in our government when we've re-elected the same fools who have run the government the past decade or more back into office? Obama, however, will offer a different kind of leadership than those clowns in Congress.

State Sen. Robert Ford said because the political hierarchy that has existed in Washington, D.C. before Obama's election remains in place, it's unrealistic to expect wholesale change in our government. I don't often agree with Ford these days, but in this case I do.

Before the election former state Sen. Herbert Fielding told me he was optimistic about the potential of the Obama administration since the Democratic Party likely would remain in control of both Congress and the Senate. I found the thought to be a disappointment because the Democratic Party has been an approving partner to the current administration.

McCain easily won South Carolina, and South Carolinians sent a Republican majority back to the State House, indications that most voters in the Palmetto State remain stuck in the "conservative" mind-set that launched the Civil War.

So what should we expect from an Obama administration? State Rep. David Mack told me Obama's campaign has shined a light on the future of America and that light woke up a lot of people who want to see this nation fulfill its promise of freedom and equality.

While Obama's administration likely will be unable to substantially change how our government responds to the needs of its constituents, it will implement new approaches to how our government operates, and that in turn will begin the process of change. And to do that, the folks awakened by the light of Obama's election will have to stay awake for the next eight years.


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