Herculean-Sized Spoon Required

November 5, 2008

Amazing and nearly dreamlike.

obamafam (Illustration of the new US First Family found here).

As a child of the US deep South (now living in California), what Barack Obama pulled off yesterday is nothing short of incredible — and a damn-long-time coming.
Who would have thought such a thing just a decade or so ago.
Many of my relatives, distant and not-so-distant, are most-likely screaming nasty little words this morning, blubbering about the end of civilization as they know it.
My birth state, Alabama, went 60 percent for Jackboot John McCain (according to TPM) and bled red all over the southern rump of the country.
Sweet and sour: A black man cleans up the horrible shit white men have created.

Despite the huge win, the real work starts now.
Not only is Obama the first African-American to win the White House, but he is also unique in how much horrible shit is piled on his newly-inherited plate, maybe not in the annals of US leaders has a plate been piled this high.
This morning’s New York Times:

  • But the task awaiting Mr. Obama arguably transcends this economic program or that foreign crisis.
    He takes over a nation weary of the past and wary of the future, gloomy about its place in the world, cynical about its government and desperate for some sense of deliverance.
    Nearly nine of every 10 Americans think the country is on the wrong track, the deepest expression of national pessimism in the polling history.
    “Obama this year recognizes the country needs to be healed,” said the presidential historian Michael Beschloss. “It’s been a very rough 10 years, beginning with a very controversial impeachment, the recount, 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Katrina and now the financial crisis.
    “If you think of the shock to the system these things have had over a 10-year period, I think Obama recognizes he needs to really settle our nerves.”

And one major item not really addressed yet — global warming — which might be bigger, and badder than all the others put together.
Last week from the BBC:

  • The planet is headed for an ecological “credit crunch,” according to a report issued by conservation groups.

    The report concludes that the reckless consumption of “natural capital” is endangering the world’s future prosperity, with clear economic impacts including high costs for food, water and energy.
    Dr Dan Barlow, head of policy at the conservation group’s Scotland arm, added: “While the media headlines continue to be dominated by the economic turmoil, the world is hurtling further into an ecological credit crunch.”

    “The events in the last few months have served to show us how it’s foolish in the extreme to live beyond our means,” said WWF’s international president, Chief Emeka Anyaoku.
    “Devastating though the financial credit crunch has been, it’s nothing as compared to the ecological recession that we are facing.”
    He said the more than $2 trillion (£1.2 trillion) lost on stocks and shares was dwarfed by the up to $4.5 trillion worth of resources destroyed forever each year.

And climate change is indeed bigger and worse than anticipated even last year.
The World Wildlife Fund released a report late last month that paints a terrible picture for the late, great planet earth.

  • The agency says that the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — a study of global warming by 4,000 scientists from more than 150 countries which alerted the world to the possible consequences of global warming – is now out of date.
    WWF’s report, Climate Change: Faster, Stronger, Sooner, has updated all the scientific data and concluded that global warming is accelerating far beyond the IPCC’s forecasts.
    As an example it says the first ‘tipping point’ may have already been reached in the Arctic, where sea ice is disappearing up to 30 years ahead of IPCC predictions and may be gone completely within five years — something that hasn’t occurred for a million years.

In a million years?
So President Obama — don’t sweat the small stuff — walk tall and carry a very, very big spoon.

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