27 January 2009

and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done

So today sees the one week anniversary of O-Day, and while the message that has come from all and sundry is not to get one's hopes up too high, that change will be gradual and difficult, with many disappointments along the way, that has not stopped most news outlets focusing (as they do with each new President) on the mythical first 100 Days. Originating with FDR's New Deal agenda in 1933, the parallels with our current economic climate are painfully obvious, and so perhaps more than with any other Presidential accession in recent history its use as a yardstick is appropriate - the country needs to see bold action at the Executive level to encourage equally bold responses on the part of individual citizens.

While I will admit a healthy skepticism of Obama's ability to effect change on the scale and speed required, I have to admit that the accomplishments of the first seven days alone have surprised and delighted me:

1) The order to close Guantanamo within one year along with all CIA torture camps, the immediate review of all current Gitmo cases, and the return of Habeas Corpus.

2) Ending of the Global Gag Rule / Mexico City Rule that banned funding for any organization that even offered advice on pregnancy options that included termination.

3) His first Presidential interview was not on US TV, but held on Al-Arabiya, reaching out to the Muslim world that has been estranged and demonized by eight years of the Bush doctrine.

4) Tackling the economy with his 'American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan' intended to create over three million jobs by investing in America's crumbling schools and infrastructure, in effect a "New Deal-lite".

5) Supporting States' rights over the interests of Detroit and the Oil industry with Obama seeking to allow California and other states impose higher emissions standards than the Federal minimums imposed by the Bush administration.

6) Immediately ordering the halt of any of Bush's 'Midnight Regulations', last minute Executive orders sent by the outgoing Administration after the election that it knew would never get approval from the incoming Congress.

7) Most importantly, and the major topic of discussion for most media pundits, securing the right to use a Blackberry. In my last job it took me almost two weeks for my request to have one to be approved, and I worked for a major Internet multinational. It only took Obama two days! I bow down before the awesome might of the Leader of the Free World.

Not bad for seven days work and a clear indication of the direction and pace in which the Administration intends to move.

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