July 10, 2008
No Time for Obama’s Smooth-Talking (Bob Franken)
@ 11:11 am
Here's the problem, Sen. Obama: Your sly efforts to scale back and gently reassure skittish voters that you won't bring radical change come at a time when our country desperately needs radical change.
While, of course, you represent the possibility of historic racial progress, your campaign was based on an ideal even more fundamental.
You have convinced restless millions that the time has come for our country to go in different directions … REALLY different directions. All you accomplish by glossing over what we have to do is play into the hands of those who don't want to do anything.
So let's get real. Unless this nation wants to continue to slide into oblivion, anything less than bold action is mealy-mouthed and meaningless. For instance:
*Sooner or later we'll have to come to grips with the fact we cannot deliver adequate healthcare to all our citizens, or even most of them, with a private enterprise system. What we have now guarantees deteriorating care. It's worse than single-payer, with all its potential of bureaucratic mediocrity. The collusion of the insurance companies amounts to a single-payer system combined with their insatiable desire for profits.
*We are going to have to cut way, way back on energy. Way back. First of all, we have to end our sick love affair with our cars. For decades, the oil companies, auto manufacturers, the construction industry, all of those fats cats, have propagandized us into believing the American Dream requires bigger and bigger automobiles, no matter what the cost of using them.
We MUST finally create a transportation system that is affordable and friendly to the environment. That means building mass transit systems INSTEAD of highways. It means making gas-guzzlers illegal or taxed in prohibitively expensive amounts. It means getting serious about alternative fuels … serious funding, paid for by the energy company profiteers.
*Of course we have to extricate the nation from the mistake of Iraq … just as quickly as we can. Unless the United States wants to continue encouraging challenges from the likes of Iran, the country needs to immediately move to stop wasting precious human and military resources in that Iraq morass. Pandering to those who falsely raise national security issues wastes lives.
*As the man said, this is "The Best Political System Money Can Buy." We laugh about that. We should be crying about it. The courts are right: The rich have a right to be heard. So does everyone else. Somehow, some way, we will have to come up with a way to make sure that the rich don't have an unfair advantage. They do now.
There are many more bullet points, but you get the picture. Moderation won't cut it. Significant change and intelligent change do not have to be mutually exclusive. But catering to those who resist change in the name of moderation will mean that the U.S. will continue to fade away.
Sometimes, Sen. Obama, lowering the volume like you are doing only succeeds in taking the pressure off of those who benefit from the status quo. It is true we get nervous about change. But what's really scary is what inevitably happens if we don't change.