President-Elect Barack Obama has his work cut out for him. He'll be taking the oath of office at a time when the country and the world is reeling from a financial crisis. The country is fighting two "wars", and the American public has very poor confidence in the elected leadership of the nation. "Culture wars" are running rampant, and there are very wide rifts in American society. It's been a long time since the gap between "red" and "blue" was so large, and the last time the country was led by so many Democrats was in the Carter years ... not a good precedent to follow.
So it is with great interest that I intend to watch Barack Obama as he leads the country. I am worried that he will press every far-left liberal policy he's wanted to (but I think he'll be temperate), and I hope that Congress will act rationally at this time and appropriate keep him in check. It is truly the Democrats chance to shine ... or to go down in flames.
However, with all of this, I wanted to highlight some thoughts I had about how we can meaningfully measure the success of the Obama Administration. I tried to come up with concepts that are not party-specific (after all, despite my Republican leanings, I'm not formally aligned with any party), but couldn't create criteria that are wholeheartedly objective -- many of these must be measured subjectively.
So, here we go. At the end of Obama's term (whether it be "first" or "last"), consider the following questions:
-- Has the U.S. economy stabilized, and is it growing to the benefit of American citizens?
-- Has the standard of living continued to increase, with those who want to want to and can work working, and the level at which poverty is measured rising?
-- Do Americans have the ability to secure for themselves appropriate health care?
-- Are Americans safer within the borders of the United States, free from terrorist attacks of any kind; and largely when traveling abroad?
-- In making Americans safer, have any rights outlined in the constitutional amendments been curtailed, particularly freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and due process?
-- Has the ability of Americans to have dignity in their lives been improved?
-- Has America socially moved towards a culture of responsibility for their life choices, economically, politically, socially, morally, and spiritually?
-- Has the concept of "minority" groups become more irrelevant?
-- Has the reputation of the U.S. improved throughout the world?
-- Are the American borders secure in such a way as to protect American lives, to secure American interests, and to ensure America's sovereignty?
-- Has America stood up for and protected those who are incapable of doing so for themselves, generously giving of its means to create a better and safer world?
-- Is American primacy in education, particularly with regards to science, engineering, and manufacturing; been strengthened and improved?
-- Has the spirit of exploration and scientific advancement been nurtured?
-- Has America found a more appropriate balance of independence and globalization with regards to foreign, energy, and economic policies?
Well, that's my list. Where will we be in four years?