Monday, January 21, 2013

Our Next Four Years

While the pomp and circumstance of the 57th inauguration of a U.S. President will surround President Obama and his family in Washington, DC today, the President officially took the oath of office yesterday, on January 20th, as prescribed in the Constitution.

Today is also officially Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

When the great civil rights leader gave his most famous address fifty years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, few if any could have imagined that fifty years later, America would be celebrating the overwhelmingly re-election of it's first multi-racial president.

President Obama's first term has been anything but dull, and his second appears headed for even more incredible hurdles. Still, his first term has seen a huge number of promises kept and successes achieved, including the end to the Iraq War, and the beginning of the end of the Afghanistan Conflict. President Obama put the brakes on the Great Recession, and has begun to grow our economy again, and shrink our unemployment problem, while actually reducing our nation's debt. All this and he pushed through a long-overdue overhaul of the health insurance system - and all of it while dealing with an extremist Republican opposition, who put their own political dogma ahead of the best interests of themselves and their constituents.

So what might the next four years look like?

To start with, President Obama has already begun the push for smarter, more effective gun safety laws. With a weekend that included "National Gun Appreciation Day" where five people were accidentally shot at gun shows in North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, and an Albuquerque shooting where a teenager killed five people, including three kids, we'd say President Obama is already starting in the right place.

This President also has the goal of reversing our nation's horrible trend of severe economic inequality over the last thirty years as one of his major second term goals. He's also publicly noted the issues of immigration reform, and climate change as key second term goals. None of these will be easy, especially with an opposition Republican Party that's been heavily burned by its extremist tea party wing. Even after major defeats in the 2012 election, the GOP still can't quite let go of their extremists at either the national or state levels - and their conservative strategists have become desperate for any kind of win.

In fact, as we noted earlier this year, the action at the state level will be fierce this year, with Governors like Nebraska's Dave Heineman trying to peddle his idea of eliminating state income tax. That plan, at first glance, seems to relieve Nebraskans of paying income tax up front, even while it robs Nebraska businesses and individuals of millions of dollars in sales tax breaks.

With incredibly difficult challenges from local, state, and national politicans in both parties, let alone leaders from other nations, most other men and women might look at President Obama's to-do list for the next four years and think, "I'm glad I'm not responsible for all that mess."

We have news for you, if that's your thought.

You ARE responsible for all that mess, even if history won't put your name next to the successes or failures of the next four years. We all are. If President Obama and America succeed, we will all succeed, whether you voted for him or not. If he fails, you fail too.

So we suggest you all pull your big boy and big girl britches up, work together to solve our problems, and stuff your attitude problems where the sun doesn't shine.

It's not just President Obama's next term that begins today.
Our next four years begin today for all of us.
Let's make 'em great.

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