We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States will emerge stronger than before.
That was the message sent by President Obama during his address to the joint session of congress on Tuesday night.
Like a doctor talking to the family of an obese patient who has just undergone quadruple bypass surgery, President Obama had to walk the tightrope of instilling a sense of urgency and a sense of optimism to the American people.
For, just like our hypothetical heart patient, America as we know must undergo a metamorphosis or all of America’s yesterdays will have “lighted fools the way to dusty death.”
Metamorphosis- change- is what we bought when we elected Obama- and the time has come- as he said- to act boldly and wisely.
Among the metaphors that Obama used to illustrate the change that lie ahead what struck me most was his mention of the town Greensburg, Kansas,
a town that was completely destroyed by a tornado, but is being rebuilt by its residents as a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place where piles of bricks and rubble once lay. “The tragedy was terrible,” said one of the men who helped them rebuild.” But the folks here know that it also provided an incredible opportunity.”
From the rubble of our economic crisis, what how do we rebuild? By stimulating lending- Obama says- giving more money to banks- but telling us it is really to benefit main street- because we must grow- Obama says. Growth is good. Bigger is better. Right. America must continue biggering and biggering. So Joe the bus driver and Jane the teacher can buy more things. Cuz we need things. What is the real cost of our addiction to more things? Consider our foreign policy….
From the rubble of our health care crisis, how do we rebuild? By enacting reform that will give more public dollars to health care and insurance companies and moving towards the day when all citizens are required to purchase healthcare?
Do we get rid of insurance companies- except for those select few rich who choose to purchase supplemental insurance- and join the rest of the industrialized world and give public dollars to free health care for all?
From the rubble of our criminally insane and murderous foreign policy, how do we rebuild? Do we pay reparations to the Iraqi people, acknowledge in any way that this unnecessary and immoral war has cost the lives of somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 million innocent civilians not to mention gutted the infrastructure of a country that posed no threat to its neighbors or to America?
Or do we, in the face of international scorn say boldly- as President Obama did- because living our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger-
And continue a foreign policy of pre-emption and preventative war in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan?
America is not yet like the town of Greensburg, Kansas, the town that was completely destroyed by a tornado.
But that tornado is coming.
And President Obama may be bold- by the perverse standards that exist inside the beltway- but like our doctor talking to the family of an obese patient who has just undergone quadruple bypass surgery he must be aware that underneath his hubris, that the bedside manner he displayed in his address to congress on Tuesday night was full of sound and fury, yet signified nothing.
Dennis Trainor, Jr is a regular video contributor to TheUptake.org. He was a writer & media consultant for Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign & a 2007 “Best of YouTube” nominee for his work as writer/ performer on “The Hermit with Davis Fleetwood.” He is currently at work on two books: “My Progressive Dilemma” (chronicling President Obama’s 1st year in office) and a novel adapted from his play, “I Coulda Been a Kennedy.” Contact: dennistrainorjr (at) gmail (dot) com