Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change we can believe in

The crowd was silent, and all eyes in the room were transfixed on a white screen projecting live images of a ceremony hundreds of miles away heralding the change that has come to Washington, DC. Students, faculty and staff alike - there were even cheers and applause when he appeared and when he stepped up to give his inauguration speech.


I find the following two bits most captivating:

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.


To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.


Compare that to the politicians and senior civil servants of a little red dot half a globe away, and they pale in comparison.

When a government has lost touch with its people, what right does it have to continue to lord over them?


Dear President Obama,

Welcome to the White House and good luck. You will need it, and I hope you succeed.

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