10 November 2008

Forget "Proud," Be Grateful

Late last night, I tuned into Prime Minister's Questions on C-SPAN. For those who don't know, every week the British Prime Minister has to go in and answer questions from the House of Commons (along with the House of Lords, it's part of their Parliament). I sincerely wish our president had to do the same with Congress, because I do feel that the British have a stronger sense of who's doing what for whom as a result of these televised meetings.

Anyway, I was struck by how many different speakers took a moment to congratulate Barack Obama and to comment on the significance of the election. We're so used to our politicians calling us things like "a beacon of hope for the world" that it becomes little more than a bumper sticker slogan. Hearing the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom--and his political opponents agree with it--is a striking reminder of the truly awesome power we have.

I recently posted in the Planet Garth main forum about an episode of Charlie Rose interviewing Garth that's available on YouTube. I finally watched it, and Garth insists that, once an election is over, even if you didn't [I]vote[/I] for the winner, you [I]elected[/I] him or her, and you have an obligation to support him or her.

One thing that President-Elect Obama's opponents need to realize is that he comes to office hip deep in a world of problems, few (if any) of his own making. Had Senator McCain won, he, too, would have inherited this perfect storm of problems. These are not small problems with quick fixes, and I sincerely believe things will get even worse before they begin to get better. I also believe that they will get better long before most of us can feel that they've gotten better.

And, yes, it will be time for those celebrities who have fawned over the President-Elect this past year to "man up" and pay those higher taxes they have insisted they would support. I know Garth Brooks was not one of those, but I don't mind saying as a fan of his, and as someone who has spent quite a lot of money on his commercial music and home video releases, as well as a concert and memorabilia purchased there, that he has worked very hard for what he has. No one should take that away from him. At the same time, there is something to be said for acknowledging that what he did was to do the most with the opportunity given to him by our society, and there's nothing wrong with paying back a little bit in gratitude for that opportunity.

See, that's the thing that modern conservatives have gotten away from. It used to be that their argument was that you work hard, earn what you get and if you make good, show some gratitude. Today, it seems that they don't mind the work (in fact, for some of them, there is nothing outside of work in their lives), and they certainly don't mind earning what they have. When you lose the gratitude part, though, you create unadulterated greed and that's what we've seen run corporate boardrooms these past eight years.

Gratitude. It's healthy.

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