Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama and Rangel

I'm celebrating President Obama's being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It's surprising, but it's warranted. He's viewed as a person who, by virtue of his pursuit of reconciliation over confrontation, has dramatically changed the tenor of international relations. People everywhere yearn for those in power to take thoughtful and positive action when dealing with matters of life and death importance around the world. I don't doubt Obama's capability to use force when all other alternatives fail, but I believe his emphasis on respectful and honest negotiations sets a tone of hope for the future. If the award helps him to accomplish his agenda, it's a winner.

On the other hand, I'm bemoaning the democratic party's plodding investigation of Rep. Charlie Rangel, who deserves prompt censure for cheating on his tax reporting and other corrupt acts. Rangel represents one facet of the party's seedy side, the facet of entrenched politicians who feel their status entitles them to waivers of laws they enforce on other citizens. The only way for the party to keep the allegiance of many independent voters is to demonstrate its ability to hold accountable its wayward members. The Rangel debacle is doing a lot of damage.

Obama and Rangel. The new and the old. The world needs more of the former and less of the latter.

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