Kids These Days:

Obama can set the example

January 19, 2009|By Steve Smith

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008, Sen. John McCain suspended his presidential campaign, including a planned debate two days later, so he could go to Washington and participate in the talks to bail out the economy with federal funds.

At the time, McCain was heavily criticized for the move. It was called a “political stunt” and the mainstream media found him guilty of overreacting.

But history is often kind to those who show patience. McCain took decisive personal action to try to correct the economic crisis and is increasingly acknowledged as one of the few politicians with the foresight to see it for what it was.


He was able to do that because he had experience handling another serious financial crisis.

Sen. Barack Obama wanted to continue with the debate that Friday.

Today’s inaugural celebration should not be because Americans have elected their first black president. That event is no surprise to those of us who do not see America as a racist nation (are there racists in the country? Yes. Do they make a difference in government? Apparently not).

Rather, we should be celebrating for a couple of other reasons.

First, we will no longer have George Bush in the White House.

Second, Obama’s election is further proof that anyone can become president.

I have no hope whatsoever that Obama is going to be able to fix the economic crisis, end the war in Iraq or straighten out the health-care system.

So far, the promises to do so are just campaign rhetoric and he was solely in charge of what he said on the stump. After today, he is going to have to rely on others to help reach those goals.

But there is one thing he can do for the nation over which he has complete control, something that over time could benefit our kids more than any other political event in his term.

Obama can stop the culture of lying.

Obama can start telling the nation more of what it needs to know, not what Washington thinks we need to hear.

We need to know, for example, that the president has made a mistake, not years later in an absurd farewell speech, but at the time the accident happened.

Americans have always forgiven those who come clean and attempt restitution, but not when it is too late. And we have always forgiven those who sincerely tried, but simply failed.

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