November 5, 2008: Dawn in America

As our Atlantic seaboard rolled silently eastward out of a seemingly interminable darkness, morning has dawned on an America that has changed forever. The election of Obama has brought rays of hope, but they are rays cast in the red glow of storm clouds that have gathered through a very long night.

Never has daylight greeted an America more beset by problems, an America more densely populated, at a time when jobs and resources have been more scarce. Our balance of trade, budget deficit and national debt have never been worse. The value of the dollar has never been lower. The manufacturing sector of our economy has never been so badly decimated. Never has the rest of the world held us in lower esteem. Never, including during the Great Depression, has the world faced such an economic crisis. Never has the world faced the prospect of literally cooking itself in its own atmosphere.

No one should be fooled into thinking that, with this election, the clouds will clear and it will be a beautiful day. There’s a bad storm upon us. Never have we been in more desperate need of real leadership. The time for timid, cautious and measured approaches is past. President-Elect Obama, your ascendance to leadership of the free world and the most powerful nation on earth may be the most improbable story of all time. I don’t believe it was dumb luck, or even a combination of luck, hard work and talent. Millions of people can claim the same traits. None of us can ever know if God’s will played a role, but it’s undeniable that you’ve been blessed with an incredible opportunity and responsibility.

If He had a hand, was it because He expects you to merely restore the status quo and tinker with minutia on the margins? As we’ve seen for the past eight years, nearly anyone can just muddle along through the job. But I believe He had something bigger in mind. It’s time to cast off economic theories and political ideologies that have always been doomed to failure, relying upon never-ending growth in a finite world while ignoring the ultimate consequences: depleted resources, environmental destruction and unemployment and poverty on a massive scale. It’s time for truly bold leadership to set us on a new path, one toward a sustainable future in which all people can enjoy a high standard of living and quality of life, with the sun shining bright on a world whose resources and environment have been secured for all time.

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