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Four weeks and counting

Four weeks and counting

Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 7:39 am

By MARTHA R. CARR Every four years there is a certain ennui in the political air as the reins of power change hands at the very top of the governmental game and we await a new presidential administration. A minimum amount of optimism can even be stirred during the years when we have reelected the same guy one more time. This is proof positive that at heart we are an optimistic crowd who believe that with a little tweaking and some reflecting on the past this time will be much better. It doesn’t seem to matter that that has rarely ever happened. We believe in presidential fairytales, none the less. Imagine the bottleneck right about now with all of the anticipation and glee for the new Obama administration. Frankly, even the cynics are wringing their hands in glee just picturing the schadenfreude they can unleash at the first big misstep. Lately, expectations were already so low that it’s been difficult to get anyone to feel let down by anything the current president has to say. Surprise could only come if something were to actually get better. But Obama seems to hold the promise of something magical and a whiff of change hangs in the air. Adults everywhere go to bed and dream of being able to buy goo-gaws and gadgets again without care. There ought to be some kind of special advent calendar for the occasion. Behind each window would be the face of a new cabinet member or a proposed bailout or tax break or maybe even the longed-for face of the new family pet. Obama is not completely unaware of the exaggerated expectations people hold out for his administration. He has done his best to temper the mood but without much success. Partially, this is because of how bad things have become lately. We either have to believe that some good is right around the corner or give up altogether. But, one of the reasons Americans often come up with a Hail Mary just at the last possible moment is because we’re desperately searching for it and we are willing to try. So, once upon a time there was a new president who wanted to appeal to our better selves and said enough with locking up suspected terrorists on a tiny island nicknamed Gitmo. We will abide by the Geneva Convention and no longer refuse to not only give people a speedy trial but even reveal exactly who is sitting there waiting. The place shall be closed. Next, the vice-president elect Biden will not be tasked with rescuing big business or the environment but the middle class. That was a surprising twist in the story because usually the average taxpayers are tied to the railroad tracks as something bigger rides right over them crying about how they’ll go out of business if they’re forced to pay their fair share. One blessing that has come from all of the failed bailouts and crashing titans is that we now know even with the tax breaks they couldn’t hold it together. Another surprising twist in the new fairy tale would be if we used a little more reason and common sense and allowed everyone to pull their own bloated weight. There are also other bits of fairy dust already sprinkled over the story such as a promise of jobs through the rehabilitation of fallen-down infrastructures and perhaps universal health care or new energy sources. Normally, those wouldn’t even get a second look from anyone but lately even those ideas are being held up as a possibility. Time will tell, of course, what the last chapters of the story will turn out to be. As much as the few grumps among us may hope for a sour turn of events, let’s still hope for the happy ending and perhaps then, a new beginning for all of us. Martha Randolph Carr’s latest book, A Place to Call Home, a memoir about the reemergence of U.S. orphanages is available wherever books are sold. Martha will be appearing at the United Way in Canton, Ohio on January 27th. Open to the public. If you’d like Martha to come and speak to your group visit: www.newvoicespeakers.com. Martha’s Big Adventure coming soon to World Talk Radio and Voice America. E-mail Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com or visit www.martharandolphcarr.com. Published in The Messenger 12.29.08

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