Typically Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the many blessings that we have, despite whatever temporary conditions that may exist. With the stalled economy and a lame duck President and Congress, it makes sense to look forward to what the next year may bring.
1) New Leadership. After many years of leaders who have let us down or piddled away their potential, it is great to see what appears to be a leader that is different in personal philosophy and management style than his predecessors.
2) An economic plan that is coherent. The economic team that Obama is surrounding himself with will have many challenges, but, thanks to Henry Paulson, they have many examples of what doesn't work to avoid.
3) A foreign policy that begins to undo the Bush Doctrine. Regardless of who the Secretary of State is, they will be making trips to reestablish or strengthen relations with foreign leaders who have had good reason to doubt the United States' leadership on issues that will require global partnering to accomplish. The popularity of Obama in the world community is good, but the diplomatic corp will need strong leadership to translate that goodwill into accords that are likely to make the world a more peaceful place.
4) Jobs. For the economy to really right itself, it will mean that job creation in the United States is rewarded. With the promise of green jobs, improving the infrastructure for high speed rail, smart cars, mass transit, alternative energy production and connection to an improved electrical grid will likely produce many new jobs. However, if large manufacturers do not invest in R & D to drastically change the products they make, we all are going to be hurting a lot more. A country that makes nothing, is nothing.
5) Supporting the Troops. We can best support our troops by bringing them home and making sure they are treated well both by the government, but more so by us. Unpopular war or not, these men and women deserve our respect.
6) An end to the politics as usual. We are in a deleterious point in our history and without a government that is willing to push aside parochial interests to wrestle with the many 900 pound gorillas that we are facing, it is hard to imagine what the next scenario might look like. Hope is good, change is better.
7) A reprioritization. Beyond politics, we all need to look at our lives and decide what we truly value. If we are wise, we will look past our own self-interests to make our country more equitable. As we have seen recently, the things that we once thought were impossible to imagine can change. I'm hopeful that we can build on these lessons, and not see change as the exception to the rule.