As It Turns Out: Peace on earth, good will to men

President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama has won his election. We have much to be thankful for.

President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama has won his election. We have much to be thankful for. He won by reaching out to a nation starved for inspiration. “Respect – Empower – Include” was his campaign mantra. His election is a victory for decency, dignity, and tolerance.

Obama has inherited a dreadful legacy from the Bush White House of ignorance and lust for power. It’s time we regain our confidence in our government’s ability to lead us in the right direction and I think Obama can help us do just that.

This election signifies the end of the Reaganomics, championed by President Bush, that means: 1). cutting taxes for the rich; 2). cutting funding for social safety nets for the poor; and 3). cutting financial regulation. Americans have learned the hard way that this only leads to the deep recession we are currently in.

We need to address the critical challenges at home, which have been neglected because of war. Obama has a long line of crucial issues to address once sworn into office next January: housing, the auto industry, unemployment, budget deficit, bailouts, oil, alternative energy, environment, health care, public education, infrastructure, inequality …

For me, the biggest issue is the war on terror, which has cost us dearly – but not just in finances and lives and suffering. Our military and its equipment are in immediate need of being replenished at home so that our nation is no longer so vulnerable. It’s time for America to reach out to the world with renewed moral integrity. Torture in Guantanamo Bay and domestic spying need to be outlawed again and our 200-year-old constitution reestablished as the core of our democracy.

Obama plans to conduct an orderly and careful withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Unfortunately, he wants to concentrate resources in Afghanistan. But Obama was among the first to reject the war cries for Iraq in the Senate when it was politically dangerous for him to do so. Instead of war, he has advocated talks with Iraq. I will encourage him to stop the waste of money and human lives in the battlefield as soon as possible.

In a speech, Obama quoted World War II Winston Churchill, “Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.” These words help illuminate our quest for a new perfect union where all men are created equal. We are not there yet, but with Obama as leader, we have the possibility of getting closer.

Take the commandment “Love they neighbor as thyself,” for example. Are the poor our neighbors? Are those in need our neighbors? Are all world inhabitants our neighbors? Is international goodwill a goal worth striving toward?

Peace is a good thing, to be sought out and embraced. War is a failure of imagination and the last resort of ignorance. Let’s remind President-Elect Obama that peace needs to be on top of his agenda.

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