Mr. President, How Long Will it Take?

Last week’s BusinessWeek magazine reported that Saudi Arabia is currently spending over $600 billion to build King Abdullah Economic City and China is currently putting $563 billion into its country’s infrastructure. This is not to mention the billions the South Koreans are spending on Songdo, the future hub of Northeast Asia. Meanwhile, our government is bailing out the world’s largest banks with money that we don’t have and no certainty that its actions will quell future economic downturns. This is, of course, while our infrastructure is crumbling nationwide. Is there any wonder that numerous books have come out this year alone declaring the end of America hegemony. The freedom this country provides is still unsurpassed, but the lifestyle is not what it used to be (I have even contemplated moving my family overseas just so that my daughter can obtain a better education and my wife will feel safer on the streets around our home). I’m afraid that the U.S. is close to being left behind to the point where catching up with much of the world becomes very difficult. As such, the next five years are critical. How many jobs can really be created with a new green energy revolution and how series will most Americans view such a push into alternative energy? How will the auto industry in this country be resurrected or, at a minimum, replaced? What will President Obama ask of the American people – what sacrifices, what goals? How long will it take to begin building up our country with the resources that are currently being spent in Iraq? November 4th proved that the American dream lives, but it has been buried by debt and all of us as taxpayers are left with the bill. How long, I wonder, will it take before we can again feel that we the best country that we can be?

Cathy

For the past eighteen months we have had an angel looking out for us. Her name is Cathy and we met her in our apartment building. Since we first met she has never ceased to amaze us and has consistently been providing us with care and much-needed help week after week. When my wife and I return from a long day at work, starving, but not knowing what to do for food, Cathy knocks on the door with several dishes of warm food she has just prepared. When we need to quickly borrow something for our daughter, but are not sure if we if should buy the product, Cathy is there to lend hers with no complaints from her child. We often feel bad for all the work she does for us and feel the need to repay her. We’ve tried. Any gifts or sign of thoughtfulness we give to Cathy is returned to us twofold. Money never seems to be an issue for Cathy and we haven’t figured out why, as she doesn’t work and her husband does not have a job that should provide extensively for them at this point in his career. But money is definitely not an obstacle for them (i.e. one weekend they decided they needed a second car and came back with a 2008 Lexus). It is because of the time and resources she has, however, that allows her to bless our lives. She is thoughtful, remembers everything my wife says (unlike me, where I am never accused of being a great listener) and has perfect timing. She is, in effect, our angel. Cathy is moving to Boston next summer and we will sorely miss her friendship, not to mention her bright smile and constant care. Thank you for all you do for us Cathy.

Two Months Away; Two on the Way

It’s amazing how quickly young children can change. Due to a variety of circumstances, my wife and I decided to send our young daughter to her grandparent’s house in California for two months while we completed what we needed to back in New York. After not seeing her for two months, she returned last week. Thankfully she remembered me after not seeing me for two months and had no hesitation at all towards me. But man, did she grow and learn during the time we were not together. She can understand much better and is good at repeating whatever we tell her (hopefully a sign of good things to come). Her language abilities at eighteen months old are quite impressive when compared to other kids her age and I give credit to her grandma for daily and diligent instruction. And just when we’re learning how we can successfully juggle two demanding jobs while raising a child, we will need to learn to double our efforts, as we will be having our second child in April of next year. We will soon know if it’s a boy or a girl, but number two is on his or her way. If you have any good name ideas for either a boy or a girl, send them my way.

Election Night Thoughts

Some say I will always remember where I was when I found out that Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Hopefully I always will, for yesterday could mark a turning point in the world. I was quite moved with the events of last night, not just because the Senator I voted for was elected, but because of the country’s and the world’s response to an Obama victory. Never in my life have I seen anything like it. It was like one of those summer Hollywood blockbusters where the world is saved from imminent doom and nations and peoples around the world celebrate and rejoice. Last night was no small event; it was more significant than I thought an Obama victory would be. Senator McCain’s speech was appropriate and, in my mind, his best speech of the entire campaign because he regained his voice and confidence and felt no need to pander for votes and be someone he was not. But last night was Obama’s night. After his inspiring speech, the music from one of my favorite movies came on, “Remember the Titans,” and I was proud to be a part of twenty-first century history.

Ultimately, however, I voted for Obama for the reasons in which one NYT commenter described so powerfully. She writes the following:  

I am no fool and don’t believe that perfect policy will spring from any president’s performance, but I am hopeful. I watched McCain’s concession speech and applauded his classiness. Even so, I noticed the homogeneous Phoenix crowd and mentally compared it to the veritable rainbow coalition in Chicago and found myself that much more grateful that intelligence, candor, and competence which will represent us ALL have found their way back into our center of government. Congratulations, President-elect Obama.

– Tiffany, Oakland, CA

Whether I agree with all of Obama’s policies or not is beside the point; it’s not like I agree with all of McCain’s either. But like Tiffany mentions above, Obama made me proud to be an American and represents the multiethnic and hopeful country that I know. Thank you for your dedication the past twenty months, President Obama. You have made us all proud.

My Vote in 2008

I clearly remember November 1, 2004, the eve of the 2004 Presidential Election. I was in law school and had a class that went until about 7:30 in the evening. I remember walking with a guy from that class to the subway near the Brooklyn Bridge while discussing the presidential election the following morning. The campaigns had gone on long enough and everyone was anxious to go to the polls. Well, the presidential campaigns of the past eighteen months have put 2004 to shame. Tomorrow is a historic day in this country, and once again, no matter who is elected, close to half of the country may feel upset and cheated. Sure, such an occurrence happens every four years, but this year feels different. Who, after all, felt as strongly for Kerry as people today feel for Obama?

I have followed this campaign quite closely since January and now the day for me to vote is here. Tomorrow I will go across the street to my local library and cast my ballot. I may have longer-than-usual lines to wait in and already know which way my state’s Electoral College votes will go, but I am voting to be heard and to exercise the right that people have fought so hard for. I am neither Republican nor Democrat and was undecided until several weeks ago. But I have made my decision. I will be voting for Obama. My reasons are my own and are not worth noting here, but I am proud to vote for the Senator from Illinois. In looking at all of the current benchmarks, he should be our next POTUS. I just hope I can feel good about that decision four years from now as I will again be preparing to go to the polls.

November 4 Election Day Update: I waited in line for an hour and a half this morning with my neighbors, but my vote is cast and I am proud to have voted.