- Peace Garden: The Work Ahead....

The Work Ahead....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

From Progressive Democrats of America

Now we have work to do, to assure the Obama administration listens to his "better angels" and adheres to his progressive record--and PDA will need your help in this effort.

“Our long national nightmare is over”--so declared Gerald Ford upon taking over the presidency after Richard Nixon's resignation (Nixon choosing that disgrace over imminent impeachment--there's a lesson there.)

Would that our current crisis be awakened from as easily.

But we ring in change and dare to hope.

At least we know, for the first time in eight years, the person on whom so much planetary security depends has a solid intellect. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called Obama, "a transformational figure." We may need no less than that to address the challenges ahead. If tremendous damage has been done to America's reputation, tremendous healing may come from having as president a man who extolled the need to engage even with one's enemies, whose extraordinary, world-wide upbringing embodies the maxim “think globally, act locally," and will present a new face to a planet that has become wary of the nation which not long ago was its ideal.

PDA can have a huge role in what is to come. At this year's annual PDA conference, we were particularly struck to hear John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation, describe Franklin Roosevelt's less-than-progressive roots, and the degree to which FDR was swayed by the great Fiorello La Guardia and other progressives. This should give us plenty of hope about what is possible in moving an entire administration.

Our job, now, will be to work with Obama, to transform the transformational man into a true progressive: to help him see that we will never have a workable health care policy until we remove the insurance companies from the equation; to remind him that another quagmire awaits us in Afghanistan, and to support his declarations that diplomacy can be more effective than military action; to convince him that no meaningful environmental policy can include any amount of nuclear or fossil fuel, no matter how "clean." As FDR's Works Projects Administration jump-started America out of the Depression, President Obama may find that a totally green Apollo-like project for energy may be the jobs program that saves our economy--and our planet.

Now the work must begin. Let us hope that his picks for cabinet and administration posts are the right ones. A few I have heard are not too encouraging, in my opinion. Time will tell, but we don't have too much time.

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