The head man stood on the rostrum with 2 million people sprawling before him and told us, the nation, that we must abandon the "politics of fear" and embrace the "politics of hope." For two years he had been telling us that we needed to embrace "change that we can believe in."
Sounds good, doesn't it? Who wouldn't favor hope over fear? Who wouldn't want change from a political system that has grown so large and so unwieldy that today we spend more money on the federal bureaucracy than we, not too long ago, spent on everything combined.
So we, the people - or at least 53 percent of us - voted for change; we voted for hope rather than fear.
The only change in the system we have seen so far has been a change in the power structure, with the movers and shakers of the Clinton administration moving and shaking themselves back into the limelight while those of the Bush administrations fade back into the woodwork. I, for one, don't really see that as a change in policy or a change in principles or a change in philosophy. I see it as business as usual.
And what of the politics of hope? In his first televised press conference Obama stated that our nation faced an "economic catastrophe" if Congress didn't approve his stimulus package "immediately."
Does that sound more like a message of hope to you, or more like a message of fear? The Obama camp has stated repeatedly that we are in "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," when that, in fact, is a lie. By all measuring sticks the recessions of 1982 and 1974 were worse and who can forget the "crisis of confidence" - his words, not mine - we experienced during the dark days of the Carter administration?
Don't hear what I am not saying. I am not suggesting that times aren't tough. I know they are. When I can walk into a restaurant at 6 o'clock on a Friday evening and be seated immediately, I know people aren't spending money. And I have several close friends who have been laid off and others whose hours, and pay, have been cut back.
But I don't think trying to convince the public that our only hope is for Congress to rush pall mall into passage of a bill that we, the people, have not had time to chew, much less digest, is an appropriate message or an appropriate tone. In fact, I think the president wants the stimulus bill to fly through Congress before the people have a chance to examine the package - because if we, the people, knew exactly how it is that Congress intends to spend our money, we might actually do what our civics teachers used to tell us we should do and get involved in the political process. We might actually contact our senators and representatives - assuming, of course, that we could tear ourselves away from "American Idol" long enough to discover who they are - and voice our opinions.
I am all for the government taking every action it can to help people find productive jobs, with productive being the key word. I am not in favor of make-work jobs funded in perpetuity by taxpayers money.
There are a few other things on the Obama agenda that I don't favor. I don't favor the federal government, for instance, dictating that my doctors input my medical records into a nationwide data base so that, eventually, the federal government can determine what treatments I may or may not receive based on feasibility and cost.
"They would never do that would they?"
Sure they would - and are. It's buried in the stimulus plan as the first step in realizing the Obama dream of socialized medicine in the United States. Don't take my word for it. Don't ever take my word for anything. Investigate for yourself. It's right there in black and white - and as disappointed as I am in the U.S. Senate for passing the stimulus bill, I am even more disappointed in Georgia's two senators, who voted against the bill, for not jumping up and down and screaming to the world that this was being done.
Want to hear more? If not, stop reading. But here's a real gem for you. The Constitution of the United States - y'all remember the Constitution don't you? - states in Article I, Section 2 that a census, an "Enumeration," shall take place every 10 years and that Congress is responsible for taking this census. For 220 years now that is how it has worked. But Barack Obama doesn't want Congress to be in charge of the next census, as prescribed by our Founding Fathers. He wants Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, to be in charge of the census and has put billions of dollars for that purpose in the "stimulus" bill.
"So what difference does it make who counts the people?" the politically blind person on the third row asked. Look up the word "gerrymander" in the dictionary and you will get a clue - maybe. But then again, maybe not.
If this first month is to be any indication of what the politics of hope will be like, we should all be afraid. Be very afraid.
Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.