The Bush year of confusion and incompetence is now concluding with the disaster that is looming in Pakistan and the growing realization among many European Union nations that war in Afghanistan is reaching a dead end. Israel and the Palestinians struggle to find the where-with-all to create a peace process out of the confusion that was Annapolis and there is considerable doubt anything of importance will emerge in the early months of the new year. The only certainty one can make about the debacle that has been gradually building among members of the Bush administration is that something will be changing in the coming months.
Several months ago Rudy Giuliani burst on the scene with high expectations that simply relying on what Senator Joe Biden terms the famous message of the former New York mayor — “a noun, a verb, and 9/11″ would serve to catapult him into the presidency. After several months one can see the fatigue in Rudy’s face as people grow bored and learn more about him, all of which only serves to lower his poll ratings. Mitt Romney has become a joke because he will change his mind if a voter asks him to do so. Fred Thompson makes everyone go to sleep and poor John McCain struggles to get a word in that impacts upon people. Is the Huckabee horse which is surging to the front the change that America seeks? Or is it the nineteenth century message of Ron Paul that allows free reign to “individuals” and we can resurrect the old Robber Baron mentality that once made certain workers had no rights and minorities knew their place– at the rear of the bus?
Or, is the change coming from Hillary or Barack or John who basically argue the same ideas although they each have an individual wrapping for the present to America? It appears Hillary lacks the human quality which enabled men like Ronald Reagan to resonate with large sectors of the American population whose economic lives would be damaged by the former actor’s election? Perhaps, neophyte Barack Obama will be the voice of change since he does connect with large portions of the population, and with the good lord’s help by Pastor Oprah, he might yet gain the nomination.
Fast forward to January, 2009, and we know that a change will begin in America. Hopefully, the change will witness the end of dysfunctional Middle Eastern policies and a decision to initiate new policies in Afghanistan that would lead to some sort of resolution of what is now a quagmire of bewilderment. Iraq is still with us and will be with us in January, 2009, the only question is which Iraq. Iran stands on the periphery of the Middle East and a question is whether or not a new American president can reach out through the fog of rhetoric on both sides and enter into genuine negotiation with that nation in order to help stabilize the region. A new president will have to be firm and resolute in making both Israel and Palestinians agree to compromise and stand down from some of their rhetoric in order to attain peace.
We hope the times they are a’changing because the present stagnation is maintaining the world as is rather than forging a new world in which issues are addressed and some form of compromise is attained. The famous Bob Dylan song of the 1960s insisted the old had to get out of the way of the young because the times they were a’changing. If that is the message, then Barack Obama appears to be the voice of the current times that will be changing.