by Ron Kenner
Baldwin Hills, Calif.
December 17, 2012
Part V: A CALL FOR FAITH IN THIS WORLD
BALDWIN HILLS, Calif., Dec. 17, 2012 -- To end gun violence, to improve our schools, to rebuild our space program as soon as we can afford to, we need some other-worldly faith. But we also need a renewed faith - in this world.
That means faith in progress, not only with the courage of hope but with "meaningful action," as the President put it on Friday, to back up our hopes.
Despite our serious problems and for more than any other reason - as astutely implied in Thomas Friedman's Nob. 7 New York Times column, "Hope And Change, Part Two" - the majority of the nation clearly re-elected President Obama as an alternative to obstructionism and cynicism.
This vote occurred despite the general public being inundated by advertising money generated after the stunning Citizens United decision in the U.S. Supreme Court. Under the guise of"free speech," that decision treated corporate donations in the millions equally with paltry individual donations.
And despite massive, costly problems on the horizon, the majority vote for President Obama occurred because of the public's faith in progress, even at a heavy financial cost. What would we expect? "Free" progress, too, along with the "free" speech?
As one solid indication of the majority public's objection to obstructionism, consider how amazing, given the historical record. how remarkable it is that the public voted for Mr. Obama in an economy significantly worse than acknowledged by either candidate. Tax relief was not the major issue on voters' minds.
On Nov. 6, the majority of American voters bit the bullet and committed to progress. Like Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve - who seemed to gain a new sophistication after his retirement when his book came out - let's hope President Obama now gains a new clarity in his second term.
The President has a role as a confidence-builder in hard times. And he was, if only to demonstrate that he had things under control. Now, in his second term, let's hope he will not overplay the role of confidence-builder.
Instead, he should level with the American public about the many things that are out of control - due in part to political obstruction of regulations and common sense spending - and start bringing things back into line.
His eloquent speech Sunday night at a vigil in Newtown, Conn., where the latest massacre of children took place in just over two minutes in Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School, was a testament to that.
"These tragedies must end," he said, and there was little doubt in that crowded high school auditorium that he meant the words completely.
Despite the ludicrous fear-mongering about Mr. Obama's name and where he was born, or whether he's a legitimate President, or plans a massive seizure of guns in private hands, now is the time for him to not only seek consensus with Congress but with a larger segment of the American public.
He might well accomplished this by making inroads against the ignorance, confusion and misinformation about what really needs to be done to rebuild our nation and once again assume a meaningful leadership role in the world as a respected part of the international community.
The President has a narrower mandate than he did in the first election, but he also retains now the promise of a much stronger mandate down the road - to face facts and level with the American public, and get us on a safer, more productive course.
Even if it's not a huge mandate, the majority of the public has clearly indicated, as noted, its faith in progress -whether it costs money or not! That means consensus and ways to "get along," not just progress on a tentative, lame-duck scale,
As recent polling shows, despite being manipulated by tons of money and sound bites, the public has now proven itself more receptive to big ideas and big actions than has big business, or the federal government on both sides of the aisle. Gun control well may be the toughest of those "big" ideas.
And the Republican side of the aisle will offer no competition, if the public has a say in what's going on.
Next: Part VI: Think Big, Or Don't Think At All
AR Correspondent Ron Kenner, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, has edited about 100 published books, including more than a dozen gold medal/first place national award-winners in nonfiction, dramatic nonfiction, and fiction. Write him at email@example.com.