John F. Kennedy‘s greatest gift was bringing inspiration and a ringing challenge to young people who were hungry for hope at a time when we lived under the shadow of mushroom clouds and the Cold War.
Today, we face a new crisis: the threat of world-wide economic collapse.
And, as was the case in 1960, we need a leader who can inspire hope, especially in the hearts of young people. It‘s the young who need to be uplifted with an optimistic vision of their place in America‘s future, rather than a creeping sense of despair.
So, although John McCain is an honorable man, and a true American hero, this is not his moment in history. This is not the time for an old man, recycling the failed ideas of the past eight years. This is the time for Barack Obama.
Never in our lifetime have we needed a leader of Obama‘s intellect, wisdom and steady hand more than in the crisis we face today: A crisis brought on by the calamity of the Bush administration and its “me first“ ideology, which has made a near wreck of America. The national debt alone totals the equivalent of a $460,000 obligation for every household in America.
Last week, the Consumer Confidence Index (which is based on a survey of 5,000 families) plunged to an all-time low, driven in large part by the fact that America lost 760,000 jobs this year.
Thats the bad news. The good news is that things can only get better. We may face a period of austerity for a time and return to the values of our parents to be more frugal and less wasteful, but in the long run, we will be the better for it.
For starters, it seems safe to assume that the political party that engineered our current disaster will be swept out of office this week -- possibly for a generation.
The politics of greed and self-interest are out.
The policies of deregulation -- which allowed corporate thieves to run wild -- are out.
The borrow and spend policies of borrowing billions from the Chinese and the Saudis to pay for our wars and their oil are out.
Providing tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs is out.
So, whats in? A new attitude and a president who inspires us to reclaim our country.
Pay as you go is back in as a government policy. That fiscally responsible policy resulted in the best economy in Americas history under President Clinton.
Putting domestic issues first is back in. Our new president has an ultimatum from voters to get our country back on track, rather than squandering ourselves in countries packed with fanatics whod love nothing more than to bleed us for the next 1,000 years.
Rebuilding America is back in. Our moribund industries will be revamped to produce electric cars, wind farms, trains, nuclear power plants, clean coal plants and solar power projects. New jobs will surely follow.
America itself will be back “in“ as a leader in the world, rather than a pariah.
So, take heart, Joe Sixpack, and stop cryin in your beer if your guy lost this election. The party that plays you like a sap every election with non-issues like gay marriage and phony threats to take away your shotgun -- and then stabs you in the back by outsourcing your job and unleashing lenders to snatch your home -- is toast this Tuesday.
Things are going to get better.
Tootin my horn...
For those of you who enjoyed reading my columns from the other side of the world last year, Im happy to report that my new book, Planet Backpacker, will begin arriving in bookstores across the region this week.
The book started out as a travel blog, written in 100 of the grungiest internet cafès on the planet in places like Cairo, Bombay and Budapest. I can only promise that it packs a laugh or two, along with lots of oddball characters, strange places and thoughts on the rambling life. Its sure to unleash your inner travel beast, and I hope, some pleasant dreams.