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Updated 08 Nov 2008

What will be Obama's biggest temptation when he sits in a chair that has corralled more power than any president in history?
To gather still more power!
But that won't happen if his campaign oratory is to be believed.
We expect he'll roll back the unitary presidency.

The old adage "ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY" is a case of "ONE SIZE FITS ALL" and they combine to confront him/her with temptation. But adages are not laws of nature, nor are they absolute. Humans have options and the truly great opt for what is right when tempted.

Obama will need the wisdom of Mandella, the insights of Gandhi, and the moral character of Schweitzer to avoid the pitfall. We believe he will. This is something we have a right to expect in our democracy.

McCain comported himself nobly, courageously, and patriotically during the Vietnam War. He is a genuine American hero. If his captivity and torture helped prepared him for the presidency, why didn’t he learn the lesson that insurgents teach and re-teach historians?

The lesson is simply stated: Foreign occupiers are simply not wanted by the locals.

It has always been so. The crusading Popes were not wanted in the Middle East, just as the Saracens were unwelcome in Spain and Eujrope. Napoleon never got that message either, until too late. France went essentially bankrupt trying to subdue Spanish insurgents; Napoleon himself said exactly that. His nation grew tired of never-ending war and deserted him. Waterloo became a foregone conclusion. He lost that great battle in large measure because his own generals and troops deserted him. The not-wanted-here feature in Spain was in play earlier when the Colonials kicked out the British.

How was Vietnam, in our era, any different? We got the same message, but went into denial. Perhaps we truly believed and felt that only our cause was just, or war was the only solution. Whatever, war proved to be a non-solution. Vietnam today is a respected member of the family of nations.

We find ourselves once again in an unpopular war against terror, double this time—Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama will not add an Iranian chapter, of that we can be sure short of craziness on Iran's part.

Can Obama disengage our military as promised?
He has promised to; the means are vague.
We can be sure he will engage in diplomacy as promised.

Will he roll back the basic unitary presidency?
He has been silent on that, but his early actions this week indicates he will.

Most people are rightly nervous about a party having control of both White House and the Congress. We are, too. At the same time, the economy and the international situations have become so dire, that quick and decisive action is needed. So one party control, in principle can be more responsive.

Many Democrats fear their party will become arrogant and misstep by overreaching, as has been a common event in the past when one party controls the government.

We look for, expect, and hope for a breakout. Obama has the potential. It is up to us to help him realize that potential. We are gratified by his appointments so far. We expect a smoothly functioning government--like the organization that helped him win the presidency. We expect him to succeed.

Moreover, Obama, a natural-born American citizen lived in Indonesia as a youth, and he has traveled extensively--among both the rich and the poor. Be knows well that for much of Asia and Africa, the issues are water, food, electricity, sewers, and economic development, not democracy. In fact, democracy requires an economic infrastructure with an educated work force. This means schools--for both boys and girls.

Obama is personally familiar with the most basic problems that lead to alienation and humiliation--the most basic motivation behind terrorism. He knows the true enemy of humankind. It is not ethnicity; it is not religion in and of itself. It is the miss-match in development at the practical level, between the halves and have-nots.

Extremism on both sides of this coin exacerbate the equation. And extremism is a product of our natures. To understand how that comes about, see the series of pages beginning on: Peace Via Nature's Way.

Having raised these expectations, there are many things that can get in the way. Obama has warned us. So we must be patient. That will be easy when he runs a transparent and accessible government, one that considers input from all of us. With campaign headquarters in every state, he could convert each to a listening post, staffed by members from each party to reduce any tendency toward bias. Ideally such a scheme could be a joint project of the Central Committees of each party. All it would take to work is an attitude that puts America first in each of our hearts.


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