Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't I have enough problems?

I've noticed a certain tendency in myself lately: Instead of just listening to the news and letting it flow over me, responding with a vaguely depressed thought, such as "Jeez, I wonder what THAT will do to my 401k???" - now I am actually trying to think of solutions to our problems.

I've found myself wondering, "Gee, should they bail out the car companies? What can we do to make them more competitive and not just give them money? Perhaps we can require them to promise not to make any more SUVs. Or maybe we should give them incentives to produce higher gas mileage cars. Or maybe..."

In other words, I'm internalizing the country's problems and trying to solve them as if they're mine to solve. This is not healthy! Let's face it, even if I came up with a great solution and posted it to this blog it isn't going to be noticed. (***Update: Thanks to Liberality and Fran for reminding me that if any of us DO have good ideas they want to suggest to the President-Elect, we should go to and send them to President Obama. I didn't mean to imply that we ordinary citizens can't make a difference.)

So I gave myself a good talking to, and reminded myself that President Obama is in charge. He is picking a team of experts who will be able to figure this out. Even David Brooks thinks he's making good decisions. (If I didn't know better I'd think he was secretly rooting for Obama all along and is relieved that he won.)

"Already the culture of the Obama administration is coming into focus. Its members are twice as smart as the poor reporters who have to cover them, three times if you include the columnists....And yet as much as I want to resent these overeducated Achievatrons (not to mention the incursion of a French-style government dominated by highly trained Enarchs), I find myself tremendously impressed by the Obama transition."

Brooks goes on to say, "Unlike past Democratic administrations, they are not just handing out jobs to the hacks approved by the favored interest groups. They’re thinking holistically — there’s a nice balance of policy wonks, governors and legislators. They’re also thinking strategically."

This is finally what we have needed all along. Some may criticize Obama for picking Washington insiders, but you need insiders to get things done. Jimmy Carter picked outsiders and wasn't able to be effective.

And I love that they are so smart and educated, and actually have relevant experience for their jobs. As Jon Stewart said back in April, "I not only want an elite president, I want one that is embarrassingly superior to me."

Well, thank goodness, we've got one. And he's appointing a whole crew of superior cabinet members to boot.

Maybe we'll actually be in good hands this time - and I can stop worrying about how I personally would solve the problems of the American car companies.


Life As I Know It Now said...

it's bad to want to solve our countries problems? actually, I think you really care when you are this invested in it so think of it as a positive rather than a negative is what I recommend. but hey, who am I but another blogger out on the web reading all your posted thoughts. :)

Fran said...

The new staffers might not read your blog, but they are reading their blog & Obama is actively seeking you ideas & solutions. Funny it is sooooo easy to bitch about what is wrong, not as easy to come up with realistic solutions. is the Obama site- scroll down to the bottom of the page where they ask for your ideas.

I sent in a batch & they sent me back a more comprehensive form to fill out asking for more ideas.

Obviously Obama is not reading them himself, but they have a team taking tallies & perhaps floating the best of ideas.

Because you might have a brilliant idea, or be the zillionth person to express a same concern, so he knows this is not what the people want.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Go for it!

Roll up your sleeves & get all democratic....

= )

Mauigirl said...

Good points, both of you! I didn't really mean that I shouldn't be thinking of solutions to the problems, but that if I start worrying and obsessing about the country's problems in the middle of the night in addition to my own, that's going a bit too far, LOL! I tend to be a worrywart to begin with (when I was 10 I couldn't sleep all night after the Chinese developed a hydrogen bomb. I'm like that).

I'm afraid I haven't come up with a brilliant solution yet to the car companies' dilemma. My husband, however, has some ideas on universal health care so I told him to go to the site and tell the president about them. He hasn't done it yet, so I will remind him.

I did send a note on the site to ask President-Elect Obama to put same-sex marriage high on his list of things to accomplish.

I think it's great he has a site where actual citizens can interact with the president and give him ideas. Fran, I'm impressed you got a follow-up from them - you're right, it shows they really are paying attention! I truly think this is going to be a presidency that is different from any other previous one.

Randal Graves said...

I do like this from Brooks, though:

The events of the past two weeks should be reassuring to anybody who feared that Obama would veer to the left or would suffer self-inflicted wounds because of his inexperience.

Veering to the left, you mean where the majority of Americans place their opinions on the issues?

Congrats, wingnuts, on your successful propaganda campaign of the last forty years.

I want s-m-r-t people in charge. Let's just hope there's a return of checks and balances.

Mauigirl said...

Agree, Randal - the veering to the left part was Brooks' conservatism showing.

However, I think it is true that if Obama suddenly tried to go to the left too suddenly that he wouldn't be able to get the support he needs to get there. He is indeed a pragmatist and won't do anything so hastily that it raises opposition and can't be accomplished.

I think I read somewhere that Obama subscribes to the belief that "the best is the enemy of the good" which is an aphorism I agree with.

Anonymous said...

Even though I didn't vote for Obama I am also very impressed with his choices including Hilary. I'm hopeful if I live long enough I'll see my 401K get life. As it is now, I have to work another five years at least and at 62 it was not something I could have ever planned.

Hope all is well..Dorothy from grammology

Comrade Kevin said...

I'm just tired of being pessimistic and worried all the time about our government. Period.

Unknown said...

Fran's idea rocks. Yep, you can be involved, and that's how Obama got in, by our support at grassroots level. So we did make a difference, and with the shrub's vacationing, fascist ass out of the WH, we can start playing a part in our gov't again.

I am like you w/the worry - mine's more that I would lose my job (I work for a nonprofit). It behooves all of us to do all we can to get this country working again.

Snave said...

You are a bright, thinking individual. People who like to exercise their critical thinking skills are the ones who need to be encouraging others to do the same! You blog well, and I also have to say... you think well too!! Of course we can't solve our country's problems, and in many cases those of us who want to aren't as bright or qualified as those who actually have impactful positions in our government. I am certainly not! I like the Jon Stewart quote a lot!!

Just the same, I believe that if enough of us can exercise our brains in logical ways and share our ideas with others, like-minded or otherwise, it contributes to a "thinking" culture.

If more Americans think rather than simply react, we can change the country little by little. This can ultimately defeat the Republican leadership in a profound way if they refuse to move their party's focus to the political center. As it is now, they don't want us to think, they want us to react. A non-thinking, reactive, uninformed public is easier for them to control. By thinking, we fight their control.

Call me an idealist if you like, but I have always believed in the power of the mind!

So, keep thinking about ways to solve the nation's problems. It's good for you, and it's good for America! 8-)

And thanks for the honor, BTW! I responded in your post below.

Anonymous said...

After listening to Obama's message today on YouTube, it's clear that he's no wasting any time.

Stay involved, Maui. It's good for everyone to be paying attention and adding their voice and talents.

Mauigirl said...

Hi Dorothy, I know what you mean - I too am thinking I'll have to work longer than I'd planned. Bummer...But I'm hoping things will get better in the next year or two.

Kevin, exactly - that's what I was thinking when I wrote this - that it is about time we felt as if someone who knows what they are doing is in charge so we don't have to feel discouraged all the time. We can feel as if someone is doing the right things for the country.

Helen, yes, I totally believe in trying to make a difference and I'm glad Obama will finally give us the chance to do it again.

Snave, thanks! I do agree, we can make a difference a little at a time. Let's all keep working at it and things will get better!

Mauigirl said...

DCup, just saw your comment. Don't worry, I'm still involved! Just relieved we are going to have a president who knows what he's doing!

cconz said...

i'm adding you to my fav's, love your blog. Your posts are RIGHT ON.

D.K. Raed said...

This post made a lot of sense to me. I've also been obsessing too much about things that are out of my control. Of course the ideas & contributions to making it all happen should never stop, but it sure feels good to see the team Obama is putting together.

Tom Harper said...

Maybe Obama's pragmatic attitude is trickling down to the rest of us. He's hiring the brightest people he can find and they're all working to find the best possible solutions; and this attitude is contagious.

It's a refreshing change from the last 8 years of Bush's meanspirited narrowmindedness. His attitude also trickled down to the general population. Millions of people, liberal and conservative, would automatically react to every problem with "those F&%$in' %^&*%#!#$%$#!s!!!!"

I like it better now.

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