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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kapact's Rant: Three Rants and a Note About Our President

I have three subjects to talk about, with a note at the end about our new President and the economic crisis he has pledged to solve.

I was fascinated to watch unrepentant crook and Chicago politics posterboy Rod Blagojevich 'make his case' without actually making a case. He was all defiant righteous anger and indignation, telling us just how much he's done for the state, and how the people elected him twice. And even having the nerve to warn the people of the dangers of a legislature removing a governor without a trial. Well, mister blagojevich, your actions have in every case spoken louder than your words. You have shown the danger of government not caring about the wishes of the people. You demonstrated a contempt for the rule of law with your own taped words, interspersed with more vulgarity than HBO spouts on a Saturday night, talking about how much this power is worth, and how much you want for it, and what you think of those not willing to pay your price. You need to understand, mister blagojevich, that public office is not a prize, it's a responsibility. A duty. An honor. You don't buy or sell or win your office, you are granted stewardship over it, and the condition in which you leave it says a great deal about you. You have managed to embarrass, with the depth of your graft and arrogance, a criminal machine that puts the mafia to shame. You managed to make a den of criminals look angelic by comparison.

I'm frightened. Truly I am. President Obama signed into law good legislation designed to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work. That is good and just and way overdue. So, yes, I'm frightened that Obama has done something else that I agree with. However, I must take slight exception to remarks that he made during the accompanying photo-op. He said that he doesn't want to limit his daughters' dreams. On the surface, that is a good, sensible, honorable thought. But it doesn't bear close examination. Because just as Joe the Plumber is limited in his dreams of small business ownership, so must the Obama girls if they ever try the same thing. In a way, mister obama, we're all your children. You took an oath to make sure that none of our dreams are limited. So remember that as you are redistributing our success.

I saw a very sad story on the news the other day, about a 93 year old World War Two veteran dying in his Michigan home during a winter storm because the power company had put a power limiter on his house. He was said to be a thousand dollars behind on his power bill. Well, I'll just say that the power company is not in business to lose money. Bills are serious things, and have to be paid. Let's be honest. The bill didn't get that big overnight. (You'd have to be Al Gore to use that much electricity in a month). I'm not dishonoring this hero. I''m telling the truth, and the truth never dishonored anyone. At the same time, sometimes numbers and bottomline must give way to compassion, and according to the story, nobody took the time to explain to him how the power limiter worked So both parties share responsibility here. But there is more responsibility to go around. That is, and most glaringly to the family that is suddenly so concerned with this deceased hero. Where were you before he died? Where were the phone calls to check on him during the winter storm that killed him? I don't doubt the complicity of the power company that cared more about money than people, and I don't doubt that his family loved him and cared about him. But where were you before he died? According to reports he had enough money to pay his bill, and he may have had dementia. So tell me, indignant family, did you know he had dementia? If so, again, where were you before he died? How long had it been since you checked on him? I'm not trying to be cruel here. I know that good, caring, honorable people make mistakes. I'm not saying it's your fault. I'm just saying that people are often better at appointing blame than taking responsibility. We're all guilty of that. Nobody's perfect. But it's also true that we'll never improve before we acknowledge that.

I'm going to add something here about President Obama and our  economy, and I plan on repeating this in every rant. First and foremost, this economic crisis has roots in the Clinton administration. Clinton ordered that home loans be given to families that could not pay them. Granted, Bush should have seen the meltdown coming, but it's a time bomb that Bill Clinton planted under the house. It's up to President Obama to set the tone and the course to rebuild our house. We all share responsibility for doing the hard work, but the President is the boss. The buck stops in the Oval Office. And speaking of the Oval Office, I have to admit that I have liked a fair amount of what I've seen of our new President. Words are cheap, and politicians are good at saying things people want to hear. At the same time, we need this presidency to be successful, and he can't succeed without our support. So while I'll be quick to point out everything that I see him do wrong, I'll also try my hardest to point out everything that I see him do right. I saw him talking to Matt Lauer just before the Superbowl, and he looked, unlike candidate Obama, like a man with humor and compassion and an appreciation for the humanity of the people that make up this country. He was funny and self-deprecating and seemingly unscripted. That man will have my support for as long as he occupies the White House. When he stops being that man, I'll stop supporting him.

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