by Susan Stark
This is a sincere and heartfelt open letter to you, Mr. Obama. A letter addressed to a man who is quite obviously a deep thinker, and with an incredibly focused and disciplined will. And someone who I wouldn’t bother with if I didn’t think that he had the ability to change things for the better and save an entire country.
Since you won the election on November 4th, there have many people in the media and otherwise, telling you what to do in your first weeks of office. I could tell you what to do as well, like any other of the millions of bloggers and columnists and other media figures in the world, but would it do me any good?
In Buddhism, there is a teaching that the mind is the greatest of inhibitors to enlightenment, mainly because of the illusions and deceptions that the mind allows itself to entertain. I am certainly no Buddhist master, but I can certainly see the wisdom in that.
Being that I’m not in your physical presence on a regular basis, I can only base my evaluation of you by your actions (and really, is there no better barometer to judge a person?). And based upon your actions so far, I can conclude that you are under the snare of an incredibly powerful illusion. And that is:
You believe that this country, the United States of America, can continue as it has been; that it can continue along the course it has been taking. That it can take and take and take, without giving anything in return. That it can ignore the ordinary people of the world as if they were so much rubbish–that they are just pawns on a chessboard. That is a delusion. A deception. An illusion. And I think that somewhere along the line, the young community activist that still exists in you knows that I’m right.
And since that idealistic community organizer still exists in you, the one that truly wants to make difference, I am going to give you my own advice, and it is not the advice those talking heads and blow-hards on cable TV, and those financially failing newspapers, are giving you.
This is what you need to realize:
Imperialism Is Dead. The days when this country could do anything it wanted to do, when it wanted to do it, are OVER WITH. Finished. Caput. Dead. We can’t afford it anymore. We are in debt up to our hairline. You need to realize this before you realize anything else. We are not an Empire any more. We have lost Latin America. We have lost Russia. And we never had China to begin with. And we are losing Africa to China. And what’s more, we’ve lost the Middle East, even though it doesn’t look like it. We’ve lost it, and we need to withdraw our troops from the area. It costs more money to maintain troops over there than the value of the oil in the ground that we’re “protecting”. The United States can still be a force in the world, but not as an Empire. It’s over with, Mr. Obama, and that’s that. All of this means that we need stop pretending that Hugo Chavez is our enemy, and that we need to stop the proxy oil wars with Russia and China. Which leads me to
We need to wean ourselves off of oil and gas, as much as humanly possible. That means trains. We have millions of miles of train tracks that are not currently being used as passenger transport. They need to be turned over to that use. We need buses. We need trains. We need hybrid vehicles. We need trains. We need hydrogen fuel. We need trains. We need solar and electric. We need trains. And we can get people back to work again setting up these post-petroleum infrastructures.
You have emphasized jobs in rebuilding infrastructure. I agree. But that is not enough to get this country back into shape again. We need to start MAKING THINGS AGAIN. During the 80’s and 90’s and 00’s, there was massive job loss in the manufacturing sector, because companies could take their factories elsewhere for cheaper labor. This trend must be reversed, or we will not recover economically. And, we must hire US Citizens in this endeavor; they cannot be foreigners on work visas (no more cheating on this, Mr. Obama). And any factory owner who shuts down his or her plant from now on will have their property confiscated and the workers put back to work in the same plant. No more layoffs in manufacturing. And, we need not go back to the days when manufacturing was a big, polluting mess. We can provide incentives for environmental controls. And there’s nothing like building train cars, buses, hybrid vehicles, solar panels, and more recycling plants to get this country moving in the right direction. Lastly, we can also set up cottage industries like soap-making and pottery, etc.
So what are you going to do, President Obama? If you refuse to take my advice, then the ordinary people of the country might decide to take matters into their own hands and do what needs to be done themselves. The choice is yours.