I've always been a little bit of a dreamer. I still cling to hopes of certain things changing for the better, of certain people doing the right things.
But I gave up on the dreaming with politics sometime after I became a journalist. A decade of putting coverage in the paper of the worst power-hungry crooks, cheats and liars cured me of optimism with government.
It saddens me deeply, too. I am moved almost to tears sometimes when I read things said and written by the founding fathers who loved liberty - and us - so much and despised tyranny and corruption. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin - what grade would they give us today? What would they think of the state of the republic they so selflessly pledged their lives, their fortunes and sacred honor to create? I submit they're spinning in their graves.
I know many of you - including my fellow journalists - see a new hope in Barack Obama, but I don't share it because I think modern-day Washington will break him like it's broken everyone else. It's not because I think Obama has any evil purpose or that he doesn't have the best intentions. I think he honestly wants to make a better country, but I strongly disagree with his statement Thursday that "only government" can fix the mess we're in. The odds are stacked against him because corporations run America, not the government.
It's money, you see, that's all-important. It's not about pledging your fortune to a cause, but increasing it. My wife and I were discussing paying the bills, and I said something about wanting us to have a little money one day. Later I thought, "For what?" What's the purpose of a little money? Might as well not have any in this day and age. The goal is to have a lot. A lot. And if you don't have a lot, then you don't count.
We shouldn't have stars and stripes on our flag anymore, but dollar signs and bottom lines. Our money should have pictures not of George Washington and John Kennedy but Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
Obama called Thursday for us to put our differences aside, and paraphrased Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you" in asking Congress to make tough decisions for the betterment of the nation instead of for the betterment of each member's little slice of pork.
But it won't happen. Because they might like Obama, but they love money. They might pledge they're support to Obama, but they pledge their souls to Wall Street.
Oh, they'll rattle their sabers and gnash their teeth and talk about how much they shouldn't give these evil corporations any more bailouts, and then they'll ask in hushed tones, "Do you think the voters heard that? Did enough soundbites get on television? They know I'm against this, right? OK, then. Here you go. Don't spend it all in one place, although" - wink, wink - "the old war chest could use a little padding."
They've robbed us, people. The government that Obama wants us to cuddle up to and suckle from is the same group of folks who've stolen our country and our future and given it to the banks and the unions and the corporate lobbyists.
They're the ones who didn't fix the problems. They're the ones who listened to the beckoning call of the almighty dollar and ignored the screams of the few who saw what was coming. They're the ones who grandstand about fiscal responsibility and then spend money we don't have on things we don't need.
They robbed us, just the same as if they'd put a gun to our collective head in a darkened alley. More than a trillion - a trillion! - of our dollars so far, right out of our treasury. It's supposed to be our treasury anyway, not Citibank's and Bank of America's and Chrysler's.
Government tells us to pull ourselves up, to make tough calls to help get the country out of this mess, and all the while it stands on the shore and keeps one foot on top of our head while we slowly drown.
And government is the "only" solution? These are the people who we should depend on to bring us back from the brink?
If that's the best Obama can offer, then I dare say he's not only not the savior that everyone thinks he is, but he's more of a dreamer than I am, the difference being that I won't be the most powerful man in the world come Jan. 20.
Of course, the truth is, Obama won't be either. Because it's not a man but a thing that is most powerful in this world. And it's this:
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.