Truth and Integrity

Truth allows you to live with integrity. Everything you do and say shows the world who you really are. Let it be the Truth. ~ Oprah Winfrey ((More Truth quotes))

After eight long years of lies, both obvious and subtle, from a President who nonetheless claimed the moral high ground in all things, it is immensely, beautifully refreshing to hear our new President take responsibility in advance for whatever may come next.

I expect to be judged by results … You know, I’m not going to make any excuses. If stuff hasn’t worked and people don’t feel like I’ve led the country in the right direction, then you’ll have a new president. ((Source: The Hill))

hallelujah

What more needs to be said? The man is setting the bar very high for himself, even while insisting that he can’t do it all, and shouldn’t be expected to. In short, he has taken up the words of Truman: “The buck stops here“.

As we continue to monitor his “First 100 days”, one thing remains obvious: he knows how to get what he wants without bullying anyone.

Consider this: when he set his team to come up with a stimulus package, there were some things he wanted included, and he made sure they stayed in. As both a lawyer and a politician, he would have known that others would attempt to attach other pet projects to the bill, which they did. But those attachments, the ones that went to a vote in the Senate, were all in some way related to stimulating the economy and/or creating or preserving jobs. Not a single drop of pork fat anywhere to be seen, though one could (and did) argue that not all measures actually applied to an immediate stimulus plan.

Those who make that argument are correct, of course, but I submit to you that this is precisely the beauty of this bill. President Obama took advantage of his current popularity to build the framework for other long-term goals he wants to see accomplished, such as a push for green and greener energy; improved school facilities so that more children will be able to benefit from the kinds of advantages typically reserved for richer, even private schools; improved health care in the form of digitizing records to avoid confusion with everything from prescriptions to past diagnoses. All of these are the paths he wants to lead the country on; he sees them, correctly, as the wave of the future. He has built into this bill a framework that will guide the country and the world for at least a generation, re-energizing our focus. Since the fall of the Berlin wall and of Communism in the former U.S.S.R., we have largely been without a clear purpose in the world.

Moreover, by allowing a few frankly outrageous and unnecessary items to make it to the initial bill, he has allowed room for negotiation with a political process and party he knew wouldn’t be so willing to “play along”. It’s standard procedure in the courtroom, in fact, to ask for more than you actually want, thereby leaving room for negotiation: the items you don’t care so much about you can afford to let go, while retaining most of what you really want.

Brilliant.

The result is a bill that is very close to what he himself had originally drafted, with a price tag much closer to his original estimate. He has managed to keep even that promise as well as is possible when a promise is made that relies on the cooperation of others.

Simultaneously, he has shown a great deal of wisdom:

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. ~ Thomas Jefferson

All in all, as the first quarter of “The First 100″ arrives, he has already set for himself a legacy that will be remembered for a long time, one that goes above and beyond issues of color or race, for as William Shakespeare has said, “No legacy is so rich as Honesty.

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