What will WE Do after the election is over?

Well folks, we thought this time would never come. After 20 long months of campaigning, we are in the final inning of this ball game. Pundits are already calling this race for Barack Obama given his supposedly unstoppable electoral advantage. Yet until the ballots are counted we will not know for sure who has won this thing. But we should wonder as Americans what we, not the newest winner of the biggest prize in politics are going to do with the next 4 years. Imagine if you will, the next four years of collective action, instead of the next for years of presidential leadership.

The problems facing the next president, whoever wins, are daunting. The current economic crises to which the country is subjected, the long term ramifications of the economic stimulus the federal government continues to rain upon the American people, the yet unmeasured toll of the “global war on terror,” an endgame to the war in Iraq, an endgame to the war in Afghanistan, a new defense paradigm post 9/11 and post George W. Bush, a revearsal to the incredible damage we have done to our planet post industrial revolution, energy solutions that can harness our natural resources in a healthful way for ourselves and the planet at large, transportation solutions that will address our crumbling infrastructure, the changing American landscape, and the growing US population, the domestic healthcare crisis, the domestic education crisis, and the decreasing social and economic mobility of the vast majority of Americans are just some of the complex and often intertwined issues facing America entering the second decade of the twentieth century. 

Yet despite campaign promises and despite hype it will not be a singular man in office or even the entirety of government that will solve these problems alone. It will have to be the citizenry of the United States working both independently of, and in concert with the government to coordinate responses to these issues.

Contrary to what conservatives believe, government can help direct answers to these problems. An example? Acid Rain. Remember when that was going to destroy our drinking water? A government run cap and trade system dramatically lowered the chemical outputs of industry and curbed acid rain. Similiar measures could be taken up to close the gap in green house gas emissions. Industry has no incentive to take such action it is the role of government to legislate against the actions of industry when those actions work against common good. 

Yet government cannot solve all of these problems either. As citizens, businesses and industries we cannot sit and wait for legislation. We have to proactively seek ways to promote social mobility, provide better workplace conditions and improve our infrastructure at a profit. 

In short, active partnership between government and industry can solve huge problems, we have a history of this. During WWII General Motors produced a plane an hour for their client the US government. Why isn’t some US company erecting the 21 century power grid we need? Why are we not harnassing the sun in our deserts? Why are we not finding environmentally sound ways of building more roads? Perhaps if americans were working to design, engineer and build these projects there could be another boom in the country and some of the economic strife we’re feeling could be mitigated. 

The problems we are facing can also be seen for what they are, tremendous opportunities for both the private and public sector to come together. Whoever is elected on Tuesday will need to seek out those partnerships. I ask the private sector, are you ready to help?

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One Response

  1. This is a great post! I’ve maintained whomever takes over has a bug job ahead. It’s something similar to a Hurricane Katrina clean-up! Seriously!

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