Obama must realize that we can handle the truth

by Ogi Overman

You hear it every four years without fail. In fact, I’m not sure you can have a presidential election without both candidates droning on in clichéd fashion about how “this is the most important election of our lifetime.”

Blah blah de ding dong blah.

Funny thing happened on the way to the polls, though – this really is the most important election of our lifetime, because the victor will be replacing the most incompetent, corrupt, misguided and morally bereft administration in the history of the nation. There is so much wreckage to clean up after that to wait another four (or eight) years to begin the process of reversing course and restoring sanity might well prove catastrophic. Without seeming overly dramatic, it may be too late.

Indeed, blues brothers and sisters, we are standing at the crossroads; hellhounds on our trail.

President Obama – or as we on the left like to call him, “Backpedaling Barack” – is going to inherit such an overwhelming array of problems that just sorting them out and prioritizing them will be a daunting task. Dismayed though we are over his capitulation on FISA, gun control, abortion, etc. and his advocacy of faith-based programs, beefing up the military and other issues designed to placate the right, we have no choice but to support him. And he and his handlers know it. But once in office, those of us whose support has turned from red hot to lukewarm must put the heat on him to make bold, sweeping changes, not Band-Aid remedies and quick fixes.

For the truth is that there are no quick fixes. The problems may not be insurmountable, but we’re looking at planting seeds that may not bear fruit for a couple of generations. I still maintain that the moment he takes office an immediate mood elevation, a lifting of the pall that’s been hovering over us like a funeral shroud for eight godawful years will take place. But before the psychic change that’s needed can occur, he is going to have to grease the skids with some tough love. The hope that is the hallmark of his campaign can only manifest itself as a result of some brutal honesty about the nature of the challenges that lie ahead. Rather than tell us to go shopping and let Uncle Sam take care of everything like Whatsizbush did, we need to be shown the harsh reality that the things we’ve taken for granted are no longer possible, that the lifestyle to which we’ve become accustomed is nearing an end, that the American dream means something different in this century than it did in the last.

President Obama must tell the American public that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are no longer defined by two or three gas-guzzlers in the garages of homes in the sprawling suburbs. Gimmicks such as a gas-tax holiday and drilling off the North Carolina shore or in the Alaskan wilderness miss the point completely, and not only won’t solve anything but will actually make matters worse by giving the gullible false hopes where there are none. The Oil Age is nearing an end, and the sooner we begin making adjustments the better. New technology is beginning to emerge, and with President Obama’s blessing and a few tax credits it will usher in the Age of Sustainability rather quickly.

That should be an easy sell. As the global warming debunkers such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) continue to be exposed for the buffoons that they are, the nation will rally around the concepts of alternative energy, mass transit, conservation and environmental protection. The Green Movement is under way; it just needs a president who doesn’t have his head up his ass to kick it into high gear.

Once Obama makes the connection that many of our economic woes and militaristic misadventures are tied to the pursuit of, and dependence on, oil, then most folks will understand that it’s in our own best interest to adjust. Of course, you’ll always have troglodytes like Cheney, O’Reilly and Hannity slithering around, but if an oil billionaire like T. Boone Pickens – who helped mount the Swift Boat assault on John Kerry – can become an outspoken advocate for wind and solar power, then anything’s possible.

Next the task will be convincing the rest of the world that greenhouse emissions, energy-use habits and oil and coal consumption must be cut back drastically. But, here again, with a president who grasps the problem and proposes a solution – rather than one who pulled us out of the Kyoto Protocol and has continually pushed for drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife National Wildlife Refuge (which would not, by the way, lower gas prices) – there is at least hope.

Which is more than we have now. Or with McBush.

Ogi may be reached at and seen on “Triad Today,” hosted by Jim Longworth on ABC 45 at 6:30 a.m. and on WMYV 48 at 10 p.m. Sundays.