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Friday, September 9, 2011

Being Stretched Thin

(Busy Woman, 2011)
As a Policy Geek, you are absolutely fascinated with a wide range of things.  A vast array of media, blogs, historical facts, or policies that are coming down the pike...just a whole lot o' things that can turn a wonk's head and get her all riled up.  And you often find yourself, at least I do, thinking nationally.  So when a historical speech comes along like the one on jobs that was just on the air yesterday coming from the United States President and in front of a joint session of Congress, everyone where I was was huddled around the radio and the internet to follow the fun.  Would he be charismatic?  Would he sound like he was in charge and bringing the fight to them? What would he say about Unions and their importance?  How would regulation fit in, and oh-my-goodness what was he gonna say about pulling out on that ozone legislation Friday last?!

Mitt Romney had a particularly funny take on regulation.  As Jon Stewart points out in his late show that aired on 9/7/11, Romney suggested that every time we create an important life saving, health restoring, environment conserving regulation, we should remove an equally-big-previous regulation that was already in place and protecting U.S.citizens. That's like fixing a flat tire, only to take out the alternator in exchange.  I mean that makes no sense whatsoever!

We waited for the speech to begin. What would POTUS say? Popcorn was heating up in the background.

And so he began. In a room full of men and women who usually chatter on and on, you could hear a pin drop in his pauses. He sounded strong.  Applause started out timid and luke warm.  Then he started to begin that refrain.  "Pass this Jobs Bill."  He announced initiatives that were proposed by both the GOP and Dems.  He talked about rebuilding America, futurizing schools, creating science labs, and hiring more teachers while cutting the red tape from starting these projects quickly.  And when he talked about tax credits for hiring vets, even Eric Cantor stood up to applaud. The 6 million long term unemployed applauded too, in there homes, at the bars, in their cars, listening to the speech.
Then he said, "I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy."  From our listening point, the crowds seemed to be applauding a little louder for POTUS.  He also said, "I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety.  I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients."  And the applause was growing. Congress started cheering. "Pass This Jobs Bill Right Away!"

(Moroccan Arab Spring, East Asia Forum. 2011)
He referenced Lincoln and the foundational elements of any modern nation and economy, infrastructure. Crumbling bridges and highways, congested airports, inefficient rail and waterways will be focused on, and when he said that "we are a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another, and members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities," again we in our coffee clutch cheered and heard people in neighboring offices do the same.

There’s always been a thread running throughout our history -- a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.  And Americans — 14 million unemployed Americans — do not have the luxury to sit through the political games in Washington. As the President noted, the next election is 14 months away.
James Montgomery Flagg, 1917
(AskART, 2011) 

In this speech he worked on offering hope to millions of unemployed Americans, and economic relief and predictability for employers. These are the kinds of speeches that got the man elected.  The kind of speech they heard in Cairo, and around the world that caused a movement for equality that is still growing and flourishing. Now, the Arab Spring has us all spun around.  Is it good?  People are getting shot and martyred.  Is it better?  Are we killing too many people helping NATO patrol with drones?  Is there a right answer? If your a populist, the right answer is a negotiation, a grand bargain of what everyone thinks is right.  Let's see how this gets discussed in the next few days by the Right. I'm thinkin' Crossroads had their hatred written up at least 5 days before the speech was given, talking points for everybody, come round boys!  And the Jobs Bill hasn't even been brought before Congress yet! That fun is supposed to come next week.

The only way this Policy Geek knows how to keep on keeping on is to continue to listen, self educate, share, and stay on top of what is coming in and out of Congress and in and out of the White House.  Hope you are too.  But, if you're not, no worries.  Us Policy Geeks will chew it up for ya and pass it along.  We'll do it on Facebook and Twitter and Patch and Current, and all you have to do is tune in and turn on.  We Can Do This!!  One active citizen helping another.  Yes We Can.

Lisa Lindo
The Policy Geek

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