We've all heard a bit of this lately:
People from all over the country are bemoaning the end of life as we know it. For the liberals (especially as long as Bush is still in the White House), the country is falling apart, the economy is on a permanent nose-dive, no one has a job, all construction has come to a dead halt.
Well, I beg to differ. If it's bad where you are, in liberal New England, or socialist Massachusetts, well there's a reason for that!! If this cheers you at all, please know that not the whole nation is descending into the pit. Here in our medium-sized town, lots of substantial construction is going on. The local college is building a large, new building. A local veterinary added on a huge,lovely wing. And one local businessman is building an impressive restaurant and pharmacy (so rumor has it - I know there are too lovely buildings with very nice stone-work). These folks all found credit to build. One housing development in town can't keep the houses very long; they're selling too fast. Granted, many people who speculated (the operative word here) on land or housing starts are not seeing a return on their speculation. That's the reason it's called speculation.
But the liberals aren't the only gloom-and-doomers. A lot of conservatives I know are sure that life as we know it is over (for at least 4 years), because Obama is soon to be in the White House. One erroneous email forward claimed that a famous Christian speaker predicted America would soon enter into a physical famine, because of our sin. I have friends and colleagues who send emails saying that our lives are going to become very difficult, we will lose freedoms, the America we know and love is doomed. Many conservatives feel this way. Prepare for persecution.
I'm not happy that Obama is the president-elect. But I don't think it will destroy our nation. Unfortunately, I think Americans themselves are accomplishing that without any help, but it is a slow death, and although the next 4 years may not help to slow our decline, we can hardly blame one man for a nation's ills. If Bill Clinton didn't kill us in 8 years, I don't think Obama can do it in 4.
On a side note, we were listening to NPR yesterday morning. The commentators were bemoaning the sorry state of the economy that Obama will be inheriting - as if everyone didn't know this 3 weeks ago. They began to question how much he will really be able to accomplish, with such a huge economic challenge facing him. Then one man said this, "How important do you think it really is, that Obama actually keep the promises that he made in the campaign?"
3 weeks ago, if anyone had actually questioned (let alone someone on NPR!) that Obama could do anything short of save the planet, he would have been ostracized. Now it is simply assumed that those promises were empty words, not likely to be kept. What about the weeping women after his speeches? What about the staunch supporters that said he was a new type of leader, one who could hurdle trade deficits in a single bound?
I do think he will face huge challenges, which he will not likely be equal to because of his well-known lack of experience. And those economic challenges we cannot blame Bush for, or the Democratic House/Senate for. When Americans progressively learned that they could vote people into office who would open the public coffers and spill out all those tax dollars, the beginning of the end occurred. How far along we are toward that end, only time will tell.