In what I take as a standard close to his stump speech, Joe Biden recounts the words his father spoke, "when you get knocked down, Champ, Get up. Just get up". Notice there's no further advice. He didn't say get up and do this, or do that. Just, get up. Once you're back on your feet you can start to plan for the next steps and the steps beyond that.
The nation finds itself knocked down now after eight long years of the Bush administration. The list of Bush failings is long and the effects of those failings may be long-lasting. The nation, (and the Democratic leadership bears much of the blame), shirked its responsibility to invoke the Constitutional remedy of impeachment against Bush for his perfidy. The fact is, the nation was taken to war for reasons other than necessity; we attacked a country which may have had ill-intent, but was not responsible for the September 11 terrorist attack. Almost 4,300 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq, over 30,000 have been maimed for life, and literally uncounted Iraqis have died for this lie. As part of the series of events this lie caused, the bulwark of our liberties, the U.S. Constitution, was diluted, as personal freedoms were set aside in the cause of fear. Economically, the underpinnings of our system were placed in jeopardy, again the war caused much of this, as ten billion dollars a month was poured onto the sands of Iraq. Mercenaries now carry much of the weight of "defending" our nation, and they make out like bandits. Clinton passed on to his successor a balanced budget, this could have set the course to paying down the national debt (which had mushroomed under Reagan, Bush I, and actually declined a bit under Clinton), instead Bush II drove it the other way, into science fiction territory, where it now promises to hit Ten Trillion Dollars under his watch. While the numbers are beyond a normal person's grasp, the effect of those unimaginable numbers is real indeed as those things which make an average citizen's life better are sacrificed to pay debt service. The wealth of a vital society is lost to this debt, things such as: a dependable infrastructure, available and affordable healthcare, clean environment, a thriving middle class. One item which continues to grow, and has an unlimited claim on our financial resources is the military budget, which only makes sense in the climate of fear Bush has built; his only success. Now, to the fear of others, can be added the fear of losing defense-related jobs in the new economic reality.
Thankfully, the Bush regime is on its way out.
Thankfully, the Obama administration is on the way in.
We still have much work to do. And it starts with the advice Joe Biden's father gave him, "Get up."
Get up and show that racism is a relic of the past. Get up and offer a hand of acceptance to people regardless of their race, their gender or who they love. Get up and recognize that our nation may now be looked upon by other nations as an example of good. Get up and believe that we, of average means, now have a stake in the nation's future. Get up and believe that good jobs, with good futures will once again be available as the economy retools for green jobs and a sustainable future. Get up and plan for our children's future with hope that it will be better than our present. Get up and realize that the nightmare of the Bush junta is over. Get up and hope. Get up and Vote. Get up and vote for Barack Obama.
Get up and take back our country.