Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Does It Feel Different?

I don't know about you, but today doesn't really feel any different than yesterday. I don't feel any more or less hopeful about the future of America, I don't feel like much has changed quite yet and I'm still wishing it was summer! =) I'm a little sad the Bushes are gone, kind of happy there are two beautiful First Children the same ages as my own girls. It just kind of feels the same.

Yesterday afternoon I finally made my trip to the grocery store. While there, I ran into a woman who announced she was from South Carolina (which was why she didn't have a discount card) so I took a stab in the dark and asked her if she was in town for the inauguration. She was African American and I've wondered if I were, I would think yesterday would have been a very significant day. She replied that she had gone and it was FREEZING! In fact, I was a little surprised she was out of the city already!! I asked her if she was able to see anything and she said only on a big screen from far away - she actually kind of sounded disgusted with the whole experience. I wished her well and reminded her that at least she could say she was there! Hmmm....

I read this afternoon that Obama has already frozen the salaries of White House staffers who make over $100,000/year. I wonder if that includes him? Imagine being on your job for one day and having your salary frozen? EEK!! Personally, I'd much rather have had the millions of dollars spent on the past three days of inaugural festivites used to pay hard working Americans their due than to have spent all that money on parties... just a thought!

Fortunately, I'm not the president. If I were..... we'd have no booing at official, historical ceremonies (just demonstrates a certain disrespect among this newer generation of Americans),
we would not plan days of lavish parties whilst campaining on economic devastation ranking up there with a Great Depression, we'd expect, at some point, to receive the same respect/disrespect we'd shown towards the office we now hold. But, I'm not the President. I don't have the advantage of doing things my way! ;-) And I'm sure you are all happy it is the way it is.

One thing that does feel a bit different to me is the prospect of having to wonder about my safety again. Under Bush, I really felt a sense of protection and well-being that I no longer feel. Maybe if I lived in Timbuktoo I'd feel that way, but being 30 miles from the White House, 10 miles from NSA.... I'm not feeling that so much anymore. I hope and pray this uneasiness goes away soon!!

So, do you feel any different today?


Kathryn said...

I don't feel different except for wondering how much change there will actually be.

It did strike me about the announced closing of Guantanamo. That struck me as a pointed statement to the world: we don't agree with or support what happened here. I think it was a wise political move. It also signaled action at the very beginning of the new administration...another wise political move.

I do hear you regarding our sense of safety. I hope that we can maintain security without compromising our ideals--personal freedom, fair treatment of prisoners, etc. I do not envy the people that must walk a sometimes fine line to keep our country safe.

Gitmo, though, was a place that brought shame to us. I think closing it signals an acknowledgment on our part.

deanna said...

Gitmo.... it only brought shame to us because 1) the terrorists wanted it to (because it is where all their key players ended up), and 2) because for one prisoner (of highest value) they went too far. As far as they went does not come close to the way our soldiers are tortured by the enemy when captured - and that is something that will never change.

For me, personally, those kinds of "statements to the world" should not be made to the world - they should be classified directives. What he did was weaken our defense - it's that simple. I'm all for upholding our values and being able to say we do not do this... I am not for saying "Guess what? If we capture the enemy, we're going to make sure nothing bad happens to them. We won't even ask them what their name is if they don't want to talk to us." These are war criminals, not American citizens - there is a difference, whether anyone wants to believe that or not.

How much of the information that we gathered over the last 7 years that actually thwarted another terrorist attack on our soil to you think came from those prisoners? I'm willing to bet around 90%... and now, we no longer have the means to gather that kind of information, even we enter into another war after another terrorist attack that is probably now eminent. He may look good to the world, but I really believe it is a grave error.

Now, where do you supposed almost 300 prisoners will go?? His order is going to lead to more than just the closing of Gitmo.... and the US has been trying for years to send these prisoners back to their native or other countries, and we have been declined!! Bush would have shut that place down had he had the capability... nobody wants these guys. Would you be happy if Maine decided to take a few?? I would not!

Kathryn said...

Wow, D. I didn't say they should be released and sent to the local country club! Obviously we need to deal with prisoners of war, but if our ideals to not keep us from savagery...we will become the monsters we are fighting.

That is the statement I was talking about making. Saying, we are better than what happened here. It's not about looking good to the world. It's a statement about who we say we are. About what we stand for.

We need to deal with war criminals. We need to have places to send them if their countries decline them. Gitmo's reputation could no longer be that place, in my opinion.

These are scary times. The challenge will be how to not compromise ourselves while still securing our country.