In Feb. 28 IssueRussell County NewsBy Debbie Bell, Columnist
Our new president has been in office for little more than a month and two words spring to my mind- accessibility and accountability.
President Obama and his wife have both made themselves available for interviews. Obama has had post election town hall meetings and traveled across the country promoting his economic stimulus package. He has already delivered a powerful state of the economy address to the joint session of congress.
When the Obamas held their first Governor's Dinner at the White House Michelle Obama took us to the kitchens to talk with the chefs and to go over the night's menu.
This is a Whits House tradition but Michelle went one step further. She opened up the White House kitchen to culinary students so that they might converse and ask questions to the White House chefs. She even encouraged them to send their resumes for work there.
This week our Presidents did something I've never seen before and may very well be unprecedented. He held and informal press conference (which was televised) with members of both parties of congress. He took questions from them, positive and negative.
John McCain asked him about the $11 billion proposal for a new fleet of helicopters for the President.
Obama answered that he'd never had a helicopter before and was quite satisfied with the one he had now. The next day he killed the proposal, setting a good example of both addressability and accountability.
When George Bush was president for eight long years, he did only press conferences he had to, few if any interviews, and very little televised speeches. We were fighting and uncalled for, unnecessary war, gas prices were out of control, and the economy was tanking. In other words, he hid. He only came out when the he thought the situation benefited him. Remember the “Mission Accomplished” photo op? Premature, of course.
When our nation is in crisis we need to be able to see our President and to hear him tell us how tough it's going to be but to offer us words of encouragement and confidence that we will get through these economic hardships.
We don't need a President that hides like a snake in the grass.
Obama has talked bluntly about the wastes and excesses of the banks and other corporate CEOs.
Obama says they must be held accountable for how much each and every dollar of tax payer's money they use. However, Obama has also talked about the individual's accountability.
We have become a “Buy now, pay later” society. My parents have never had a credit card.
How many times inmy life have I heard my dad say, “When you get your paycheck you pay every bill that is due and should you have any money left, then you eat.” Even if it was just a jar of peanut butter.
Nowadays, everyone has plastic, not just for emergencies, but a whole wallet full so that we can keep up with the “Jones” and give our children a supposedly better life than we had. As a teenager in the early 70's I wore clothing sewn by my mother's bloody, loving hands. Today teens must have attire with name brand labels. They have been robbed and killed for their fancy sneakers.
Children of my era played outside with the sun in their face.
We ran, rode our bikes, made mud pies, had family night with board games, and the whole family actually gathered around the table for home cooked meals and conversation.
These days there is very little quality family time. Both parents work and arrive home just in time to get their children to sporting events, gymnastics, dance, etc.
Along they way they grab a nutritious meal from a fast food place. Children no longer have to play outside, everything they care about is in their room (a place we actually used to go to for punishment).
Kids as early as grade school have cell phones or ipods glued to their ears and they have every kind of game system imaginable.
When I attended high school, no one had a car on campus, not even the jocks. We were all poor and we all rode the school bus. Nowadays, parents work 2 or 3 jobs so their precious teenager can drive a status symbol vehicle to school while they themselves drive a beat-up truck or jalopy. Makes sense to me!
We are raising a generation of unmotivated, shiftless, unimaginative, overweight children and we are at fault.
We, as adults and parents, must take accountability for our own personal debts or our next generation will pay for it, in more ways than one.
Enough said. Till next time (should there be one). Forward Ho!