Tuesday, September 21, 2010

America the Naïve

Sep 21st NY Post Cover (LINK)
The cover of this morning's NY Post pretty much sums it up for me.  A distressed Obama supporter, Velma Hart, is losing faith.  She said to the President in a town hall meeting: "I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.  I have two children in private school. The financial recession has taken an enormous toll on my family.  My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs-and-beans era of our lives. But, quite frankly, it is starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we are headed again.  Quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly: Is this my new reality?"

Short answer:  YES.  I am confused about what Mrs. Hart really thought would happen.  I will admit that I voted for Obama but my vote was calculated using the process of elimination and not about delusions of grandeur.  Did Americans like Mrs. Hart believe that by injecting Barack Obama into office would magically create new opportunity and wealth for America?  This is a dangerous kind of faith to have in a political leader and one that epitomizes the kind of entitlement state people have become accustomed to.  Obama vowed to bring change to the country and he did.  How people choose to interpret and rely on these changes for their personal lives is up to them.  However, I would err on the side of caution.  Depending too much on the institution (private or public) is exactly what got us into this mess.  

The United States of America needs a change of mindset.  This is not something one leader is capable of achieving overnight. First, what the middle class needs is a reality check.  It appears that there is a negative correlation between our economy and our expectations – as the financial condition of our country deteriorates the citizens of our nation come to expect more from politicians.  This is a dangerous proposition because it encourages the perpetual blame game.  The accountability of our actions gets pushed on some other party.  Is this really what we have become?  Blame everyone else for our problems and then expect our leaders to fix them?  

The United States of America needs to convert toward thinking less about what it is entitled to and more about what it can do to create value: whether that means halting the exploitation of the dollar, or becoming more competitive globally through technology and innovation, or catering to an emerging world that is experiencing significant growth and wealth creation.  My concern is that there is an entire middle class that may have incorrectly perceived Obama’s call of duty as one that would change lives overnight.  If this is a case then we should prepare for more public displays of disappointment like the one from Mrs. Hart.  Let’s just hope that everyone will be as peaceful as she was.

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