I was channel surfing the other day and ran across that old Robert Redford/Barbra Streisand movie, "The Way we Were." Now I'm not a fan of Streisand's political views, but she does have nice legs and a nice set of vocal chords, so I watched part of the movie. Plus, I love the theme song. Remember how it goes?
"Memories, light the corners of my mind; misty watercolor memories, of the way we were."
Almost brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it? I began to reflect on a few misty watercolor memories of my own, and I hearkened back to the nostalgic days of August 2008. I know it seems longer, but it really was only three years ago.
The delegates of the Democratic Party were about to convene in Denver and nominate Barack Hussein Obama as their presidential candidate. I'm not sure the city was the only thing a mile high that week. There was an aura of invincibility around Obama. He was received like a rock star everywhere he went and his mantra was always the same. He was going to offer "hope and change, hope and change, hope and change."
Well, we have had plenty of change -- I'll give him that.
Obama was going to close Guantanamo Bay, bring all the troops home, solve everybody's health care problems, make sure everybody had a job and provide everyone with a college education -- all at the taxpayers' expense, of course.
How is that hope and change working out for the rest of you? I'm not really digging it myself.
We are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. My home has dropped in value by about 125 percent, but that's OK because gasoline prices have increased by 125 percent, which makes it balance out, I suppose. My insurance rates have increased by about 25 percent, which counteracts the fact that my 401(k) has declined by about 25 percent. Maybe that's what Obama meant when he promoted more balance in the economy. Groceries have gone up, my blood pressure has gone up, unemployment has risen and the national debt has tripled.
Of course none of this is Obama's fault, and he has a whole list of whipping boys at his disposal. During the president's first State of the Union Address in 2010, he continually spoke of the problems he had inherited and John McCain could be seen mouthing the words "still blaming Bush." A lot of people criticized McCain for this, of course, and said he was disrespectful and had a sour grapes attitude because he lost the '08 election.
But that was a year and a half ago and Obama and his backers -- yes, Obama still has backers -- are still blaming Bush, along with the Republicans, the tea party and anybody else they can find to point a finger at. But George W. Bush isn't president anymore and hasn't been for almost three years.
I learned a long time ago that you'd better be careful what you wish for because you might get it. The majority of the electorate wanted Barack Obama, and he wanted to be in charge of the nation. He ran a race full of promises. He was elected. He got his wish. He is the leader of the free world. Now he needs to own his position.
Harry Truman inherited the presidency during one of the most critical times in our nation's history and had to make many tough, tough decisions. World War II -- and not the New Deal -- had ended the Great Depression and the Germans were all but defeated when Truman was sworn in, but the war in the Pacific was still very much in jeopardy and reconversion to a post-war world would offer a number of challenges. Plus Truman would have to deal with a plethora of social issues and the beginning of the Cold War -- which would soon erupt into a shooting war in Korea. Times were tough.
Harry Truman didn't have a placard on his desk that said, "I inherited this mess." He didn't have a placard that said, "The Republicans are holding me hostage." Harry Truman had a placard on his desk that said, "The buck stops here." Can I get a witness?
Truman also had a mantra. "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen."
President Obama, you are the president of the United States. You had all the answers in August of 2008.
"Can it be that it was all so simple then, or has time rewritten every line?" Now is the time to stop blaming everything and everybody but yourself and fulfill some of those rosy campaign promises.
"If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me would we? Could we?" Lord, I would like to think not.
We the people will get one more shot to get it right in 15 months. It may be our last best chance to save this country. I've had all the change I can stand, and am rapidly running out of hope.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.