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 Change.gov 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.