Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Future Starts Today

Riding the bus home in a new America.

The Octopus and most of his contemporaries have, probably, about 40 or so years left on the planet. What are we going to do?

It's easy, when you're up close to them, not to be able to make out the historical significance of events you're living through. This was not a problem when I watched the Twin Towers fall with my own eyes on September 11. But watching the returns come in on my computer screen, on my Blackberry, cell phone, and TV, it was a bit harder to be hit with the visceral impact of what was happening.

The American people are a fundamentally decent people. We do not love war for war's sake. The American people have no appetite for long military adventures abroad, especially when the goals are murky, and our cause is not just. This war was rotten from its inception, and Americans have figured this out.

Iraq is a mess, and we need to extricate ourselves, but that will not be enough. This election shows us just why we must defend this great country. Our democracy is imperfect, but it works. I believe in America, and I believe it must be protected. The fact is, large segments of the world are seething with anger toward our country. There is no denying that there are terrorists out there that want to do us harm. There is no denying that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and that they may be willing to sell them. We can never allow a weapon of mass destruction to be used against Americans. It is clear that we will not be able to bomb and shoot our way to safety. We must show the world just why America can represent the greatest possibilities of human potential and why the world should treasure America and its enormous potential, not fear or resent it.

My parents came here with nothing and managed to give my brothers and me everything. They taught us that anything was possible in this country, and I still believe that is true. Tuesday night showed me that there is still every reason in the world to believe in this country.

What do we do now?

Let's work to save the world from the apocalyptic effects of global warming. Let's put American genius into creating the next generation of clean and renewable energy sources.

Let's work to make sure that all American children have health care and the finest educations in the world. No American child should ever go hungry.

Let's work in peaceful ways to integrate the countries Middle East into the world community. There does not need to be a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. To that end, we must work to create peace for the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Let's work to save millions in Africa from the ravages of HIV and malaria.

And let's work to eliminate all nuclear weapons everywhere. There is no place for nuclear weapons on this planet.

(I know, I know. Might as well add "Let's win the World Cup in 2010". But humor me at this emotional moment.)

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