Paul Andersen: Fair Game | AspenTimes.com

Paul Andersen: Fair Game

Paul Andersen
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

Snow blasted last week from the first serious winter storm of the season, but it felt like springtime in America the day Barack Obama was elected president.

The winds of change are bringing a thaw to the bitter deep freeze of human progress under which the Bush administration has held this country ” and the world ” for eight brutal years. The winter season is setting in, but there is a sense of renewal and rejuvenation around the world as Obama faces an unprecedented term as a world leader.

Breaking the color barrier in the White House represents a profound shift in political opportunity and social equality in America. But it’s more than race that Obama represents; it’s the advance of humanism, a step forward for all humanity.

The world is seeing us through a new lens as America strives to shift its role from arrogant economic and military dominator to global leader and responsible citizen. Diplomacy has another chance, tempered by a new era of brotherhood.

Obviously, the challenges facing this nation and its new leadership are monumental. The grim legacy of the Bush years will take decades to reverse, a litany of wrongs that will bring legal actions against Bush and his inner circle. There were crimes committed, and there must be justice to right them. But the change I’m feeling goes far beyond retribution.

My vision of America under Barack Obama is highly idealistic, a reflex of relief from eight years of angst under Bush. I look for enlightened leadership, for intelligent, thoughtful actions, for reasoning out complex issues, for working through difficult relationships, for stronger racial unity and common cause, for environmental policy based on real science, for energy policy based on sustainability, for a green economy based on innovation, for a broadened and ennobling base of national and global interests to triumph over the failed greed of big “C” Capitalism.

My expectations for Obama are lofty and expansive. I expect him to lead with integrity and transparency. I expect him to fulfill the high moral and ethical precepts he has pledged. I expect him to be strong and flexible in marshaling America’s force. I expect him to be responsible and conscientious in allocating human and natural resources. I expect him to engender respect and admiration in his pursuit of the good and the true. I expect him to derive a loyal following among thinking people of all generations, races and economic groups

The world can be a better place with Barack Obama as president, but only with a unified effort. As a nation we must transcend the reckless drive for personal acquisition and burdening future generations with financial, moral and ecological debt. We must do nothing short of redefining prosperity.

Unifying America will not be easy, but it may never be more vital to our global, national and individual interests than it is today. Our first role as citizens is to realize the need for unity, then apply ourselves with whatever skills we possess, among them kindness, decency, creativity, industry, generosity of spirit and commitment to the greater good.

If this sounds overly idealistic, that’s because it’s the first time in a decade that I’ve felt eager for the future, ambitious for our country, hopeful for a shift toward peace, ambitious for an advance of human relations, optimistic for ecological awareness.

What’s different for me with Barack Obama is the absence of anger, malaise and an enervating mood of indifference that had poisoned my spirit through the Bush years. Our national character was dimmed by a dark cloud, and I feel it lifting.

Today I have reason to think big about the future, not just for the next corporate quarter, but for an enduring future in which the good works of man ” not just Americans, but all men ” can be renewed. Even as winter moves into the valley, it feels like springtime.


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