Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Last week, as I watched President Obama sign the 787 billion dollar stimulus package, I thought about a quote I recently heard from US Chief of Staff, Robin Manual, "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste." This was the second historic event we've observed involving Barrack Obama in less than one month, the first being his inauguration. Born in 1953, I hold a place in the second half of the post World War II baby boom. As baby boomers, we have been a part of MANY historic events. I am struck by how we are so lucky to continue to, not only witness, but make a mark on this historic timeline.

There were a few ceremonial speeches given including speakers Vice President Joe Biden, the owner of a Colorado business, Namaste Solar, and Barrack Obama. Extolling the virtues of the stimulus package, the signing was planned as a rah-rah event to raise excitement and confidence in the plan. To me, it had the feeling of a eulogy-a little bit somber, a little lift of the spirit-replete with actions designed for the laying to rest of our current economic pattern. Each speaker stood and gave his memories and thoughts on the subject at hand.

When President Obama spoke, I felt tears behind and rimming my eyes. He recalled how we, as a nation, have always shown strength in times of adversity. Of how, when days are the darkest, we look to each other for support. Reminding us we are a strong nation. Cautioning us we have a long way to go before we get through this, our latest ordeal. He, again, called us to greatness.
On the CNN ticker superimposed on the television screen, I watched the Dow's numbers continue lower and lower, nearly reaching the market low of November 2008. I watched as the numbers climbed slightly as Barrack signed the bill. The market closed slightly above that low for the day.

The tears...I'm not sure where they came from or exactly why I was so moved. Maybe it was because I was watching him trying to lead us to a better day, like Moses leading the Israelites to Canaan, the Land of Milk and Honey. Shoring us up with his strength. Or, maybe because he was signing us into a debt so large that, not only am I still having trouble trying to grasp the extent of the damage, generations upon generations will still be paying it off long after I am gone. I remember feeling the same kind of breathless, weepies the moment I signed my marriage certificate, or when we signed the contract for the purchase of our home. One minute unencumbered, the next, totally, deeply submerged in a lifetime of debt. It was that same teary, queasy, exhilarated feeling---but a trillion times worse.

In the days following the implementation of the package, the Market tumbled to a new low and public out cry was loud against those who need help with their mortgages. Wall Street struggled with the fact that there is no one thing, including this package, that is going to fix our problem. It is just going to have to work itself out, day by day, week by week, year by year. Something no one like to face. Not even me.
I guess I was more emotional about all of this than I
realized. I see how all of my friends and family have been touched. During the Great Depression, so many people lost everything. They only had each other. Friendships and family became so very important. Important to lean on. Important for support. In the end, what else is there? I guess a crisis IS a terrible thing to waste.

For our American story is not – and has never been – about things coming easy. It’s about rising to the moment when the moment is hard, converting crisis into opportunity, and seeing to it that we emerge from whatever trials we face stronger than we were before. It’s about rejecting the notion that our fate is somehow written for us, and instead laying claim to a destiny of our own making. That is what earlier generations of Americans have done, and that is what we are doing today.
Barrack Obama


Evening Light Writer said...

I'm giving you the you go girl award today..YOU GO GIRL, awesome post! I'm still not to the point yet where I can watch Obama without getting teary-eyed. I'm so proud of my country for electing such an eloquent man. Of course I can't really think about the current economic crisis that we're in without getting teary-eyed.

On the news last night they had a story about a 90 year old man who lost his entire savings thanks to Bernie Madoff. This 90 year old man had to go back to work at a grocery store, 6 days a week. Damn Madoff and all the other greedy thieves, they should string them up by their toes!

Evening Light Writer said...

PS I love your new banner, I'm hoping for a little rain here. Also the whole puppy mill thing made me laugh. We tried to get my pleasently plump and highly nervous Golden Retriever on the treadmill once and now she won't go anywhere near it! I can't blame her, I know the feeling. It was like she was trying to say do you really think I'm that fat?

Ronda Laveen said...

I can think of another apendage that would work well for stringin' up. At 90 years of age, you deserve your retirement.

It has taken me many months of consistent training to get them using the treadmill. Not to mention thousands of teenie weenie bits of jerky. She is the best. I have a nervous nellie too, he is finally getting to the point where Yin started.

Dot-Com said...

That was a great post - perfect contribution to the Toy Theme.