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Hell in a handbasket…

Thank God Barack Obama is the President-Elect. And before anybody gets their partisan hackles up, I don’t mean that in a sense of “The Republicans are so stupid they sold their car for gas money” (although, as Paul Krugman explains here, the current party leaders aren’t exactly helping their national image), and I’m not implying that I’m some sort of Obamaniac who thinks that he’s going to rebuild the world through sheer charisma.

What I’m talking about is Obama’s insistence on using a top-to-bottom overhaul of the country’s infrastructure system as a method for economic revival. Had McCain won, recent events in the Gaza Strip would have narrowed his already streamlined focus to a laser-like point aimed squarely in the Middle East, to the exclusion of any other worthy issues that would have demanded his attention.

Instead, Obama seems to have his staff focused on figuring out how to solve the problems of this country, instead of taking on issues relating to other governments. And it’s not a moment too soon either; I couldn’t help notice that this recent story about 500 million gallons of toxic waste spilling into central Tennessee right before Christmas went almost unnoticed, in favor of a non-story about hopeful RNC head Chip Saltsman handing out musical Christmas CD’s which included Rush Limbaugh favorite “Barack the Magic Negro“.
First of all, who the hell gives out CD’s anymore? This is the age of mp3’s and iTunes; what else did he give out, Bananarama tickets and 12-packs of Zima? Second, who the hell cares? Wow, so it turns out a middle-aged conservative white guy had less-than-stellar taste in music and humor. Color me surprised.
The problem is that this all distracts people from the real issues at hand, namely that the country is in a very real way collapsing around us. And it’s not just that toxic spill in Tennessee, either. Remember the I-35W bridge collapse in Minnesota a couple of years ago? Remember how reports said it would cost approximately $140 billion to repair all the nation’s bridges if work started immediately? I’m guessing the second part isn’t so familiar, probably because the Bush administration decided that money would be better spent in Iraq on God only knows what.
And it’s not just bridges and retaining walls. Schools, national parks, oil pipelines…it seems that just about every aspect of the country needs a serious inspection. So I’m glad that after 8 years, we have a serious person in the White House.

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