Saturday, 10 September 2011

Celebrating 9-11

Ten years after that fateful day, we have so much to celebrate. Who could have guessed after September 11, 2001 that our President had it in him? He really showed leadership like few before him. Certainly he will go down in history as a man who forever changed the path our country was headed.

It would have been so easy for him to cave in to the special monied interests, to simply sell out our freedoms for the illusion of safety, to continue the exercise in false bubble-economies, and to further continue the disparity of wealth and privilege in this nation. But he did not do that.

First of all, our President chose not to squander the outpouring of international sympathy. His call to all nations of the world to address the shameful inequalities in wealth did not fall on deaf ears, especially when the world could see how he brought together a bipartisan commission to end poverty in his own nation. Our President made a real commitment to the U.N. in terms of financial support. He did not apologize for the atrocities made against us — instead he made it clear that a world full of inequality was a world that would continue to be at war, and that an atrocity committed against one is an atrocity committed against humanity.

Secondly, our President and the people he chose to lead his Commissions realized that Class Warfare and the monied interests had to be kept in check. But the way he did this was brilliant — he didn't demonize wealth — instead he made it clear that with great privilege comes great responsibility. How our President made revenue available quickly at the behest of Philanthropy, and the way he petitioned the wealthy was nothing short of amazing. Ending the Free Trade Era and ushering in the Fair Trade Era has brought back millions of jobs in this country as well as creating competitive markets overseas while increasing the standards of living globally. It quickly became clear that a rush to the bottom was not the way to stabilize the world. His passing of the Employee Free Choice Act in 2002 created hundreds of thousands of good Union jobs.

Thirdly, our President tackled the Military Industrial Complex. This could have had the effect of ensuring a single term, but he did it in a way that was almost slight-of -hand. He made it clear that war was not an answer — the U.S. would no longer spend trillions of dollars to go to war with an invisible enemy. We closed down military bases throughout the world, while simultaneously moving military personnel close to home in security roles along with humanitarian ones. Renaming the Defense Department the Department of Peace and Homeland Security was controversial at first, but most Americans nowadays cannot imagine it any other way. Just look at Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Had we sent all our resources overseas to fight an unending War on Terror as many of our President's critics suggested, we could have lost an entire city. Instead, we made the repairs to infrastructure that we badly needed. New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were spared what could have been a horrible devastation.

Lastly, our President asked us to make real sacrifices, and we heeded his call. Americans stopped living a material existence. We put our families and communities first. Americans paid off their credit card bills and "grew up" to be responsible citizens. Working families saved billions of dollars and reinvested in their communities. After the Stock Market Speculation Bubble burst, many Banks started to look for other dubious investment schemes. The Nationalization of the Banking Industry and abolition of the Federal Reserve took back a crucial element of our Democratic Republic. Americans have seen their savings and investments grow. Trillions of dollars of real wealth have been created in this country, and by 2004 it was clear to most of us that reelection was a given.

Considering the accomplishments of the prior administration, they could have simply rested on their laurels. But it was astounding how they "amped up" their efforts to bring this country to the forefront once more and to lead as an example to the rest of the world.

Before the second Inaugural Address in 2004, the Counter-Terrorism Units had all but expunged Al-Qaeda from the surface of the Earth. Many Middle Eastern countries had already formed formidable revolutionary groups ready to embrace a democratic form of governance.

In January 2005 many Americans were unhappy about the new Gas Tax. But we had already built the economy in an unprecedented way. Unemployment was virtually nil. Working families had saved money and the dollar was King against any other currency. Wealthy Americans had been paying their fair share and government coffers had a surplus. So many people did not realize the value in such a tax — especially such a large tax. Of course Gas and Oil Companies spent millions trying to sway public opinion — to some effect. But the Gas Tax Bill passed both houses and the President signed it into Law. Gone were government subsidies to Big Oil.

In less than six months, Americans had adjusted to $6. a gallon tax in some unprecedented ways. The Big Three immediately responded by manufacturing highly efficient automobiles, including many good electric and biodiesel models, and this increased their market shares considerably. Americans started buying their food locally grown and support of the small family farms began in earnest. The Urban Farm movement began and city rooftops started sporting all kinds of food grown hydroponically. Conservation became commonplace. Yet it was the way government reinvested that tax money that has revolutionized this country. By the third quarter of 2005 the revenue collected by the Gas Tax Bill funded the U.S. High Speed Rail Project that was completed over a year ago. Just about every metropolitan area now has a high-speed train that connects it with other metropolitan areas. Inefficient and costly air travel is now a thing of the past between nearby cities. The future hold even more promises.

In 2007 the Public Transportation Bill was narrowly passed. Now in any city over 50,000 in population one can state that cheap, efficient and comfortable transit options exist. Private automobile ownership is no longer a prerequisite to the American standard of living, unless one lives in the rural outskirts. Retooling the Automobile Industry took surprisingly little time. Getting people out of their cars was a feat of marketing brilliance by middle of the second term of the administration, but the results have been miraculous. Whole city centers have now become carfree. There were now three experimental carfree cities in the United States, and there is a waiting list a mile long to gain admission. Many larger metropolitan areas have made public transit entirely free to their ridership increasing its use and efficiency of operation. American families have saved billions due to the decline of automobile ownership and reinvested in their homes, education and communities. The equality gap continues to close, and the reinvigorated communities — brought closer together due to such policies have nourished a renaissance in the arts.

By 2008 the United States economy was booming. Gas was $8 a gallon, but few cared. Americans had more money than seven years prior, and they were now disciplined enough to save and reinvest it. The Health Care Act of 2008 was a big fight in Washington D.C., but after so many successes and so much public confidence, it was clear that Big Pharma and the Health Insurance lobby were the clear losers. The single-payer system was the only system proposed, and we are so much better for it. Since health insurance was no longer based on employment, unions no longer had to negotiate their contracts with it in mind. Real wages immediately shot up. Two years afterwards and we see wages climbing over inflation. Most American workers today can afford to buy their own homes.

Congress amended the U.S. Constitution in 2008 to end term limits for the Presidency, and the President signed it into Law. Strangely, he did not seek a third term. Americans were bewildered. Instead he chose to pass on the reigns.

Clearly the support of the previous President was enough to usher in our current President. In 2009 it was clear that Big Oil's days were over. The Resource Preservation Act was handily passed. Regulation was clearly needed, as it was discovered that deep-sea oil drilling was in dangerous uncharted territory. A quick end to it ensued, and eminent disaster was averted. A gallon of gas at the end of 2009 soared past $10 a gallon, but most vehicles by this time were using little if any of it. The Solar Energy Industry was already taking a huge bite out of electric needs. Wind, Sea and Tidal Power Plants sprung up overnight. Half of this nation's electricity now comes from renewable energy sources only two years after this policy was put into effect. Many people voluntarily started leaving Suburbia by 2002, and much of the land was reclaimed for independent farms or returned to its natural state. Some suburban areas have been transformed to carfree cities. Who could have predicted such a transformative time in American history?

By 2010 the wealth of this country, and the world was at a peak. Rather than capitulating to fear and superstition, we had invested heavily in Science both in terms of research and education. The breakthroughs have all but dissipated the Dark Ages. America and the world have become decidedly Secular Humanist, because we saw what worked. We are no longer beholden to our narrow, tribal notions. We are witnessing a global era of peace and prosperity. In 2010 the United States did something that a decade prior would have been considered an impossibility. The Education Act of 2010 made all schools and Universities free based upon admission as long as a student showed desire and ability — and regardless of their national origin. This has created a Renaissance of learning based upon competition and desire and it has made this country a seat of culture like none other.

September 11, 2011. We have cause to celebrate, and reason to be hopeful that the future will bring more health and prosperity to our nation and the world.