Under an Obama administration, will U.S. citizens take more action?

While I wasn’t alive in the sixties, I am familiar with JFK’s famous inaugural quote “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”. Similarly, Barack Obama invokes a similar call to action in his speeches: “our campaign has always been different is because it’s not just about what I will do as President, it’s also about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it.”

Do you see this happening? After eight years of American citizens seeing what can happen when one individual is given too much power, do you feel that Americans will be more willing to act? More willing to not only vote this fall, but also to promote change or action on a local level? Will more people attend city hall meetings, will more people discuss and debate higher-level politics on an SDMB-type forum? Will there be more promotion and discussion amongst friends and family, more communication with ones local Representatives and state Senators?

My thoughts:

McCain certainly has the experience and ability to run a country from a position of executive power, affecting change a national and international level. However, it doesn’t seem like he has the ability (or charisma, if you will) to rally the locals to take control of their own lives and communities. It seems like Obama has this capacity, if only inasmuch as he is making citizens aware of their personal responsibilities to themselves and each other.

Can Obama “run” the country like McCain can? Probably not. But Biden probably can. Biden has the national and international experience that Obama lacks. Biden will be, in a sense, running the government machine, taking on more and more of the day-to-day operations to promote international peace, a national health care plan, dealing with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Obama will be out amongst the citizens, being the sort of leader that the country needs to help them realize that they can’t rely on just one person to run the whole show. They need to start relying on themselves, on a state level, a county level, a city level, a household level and a personal level. It is not the President’s job alone to make sure everything is all right for us; it is our job, as the People of the United States of America.

It seems like under a McCain/Palin administration, the country will be silenced with a Republican pacifier, with mommy and daddy whispering to us every night “Everything is juuuust riiiight… we’re here for you, baby… don’t worry your pretty little head, just go to sleep and dream that American dream.”

But under an Obama/Biden administration, the country will be told “We’re working here in Washington to keep the country safe and productive, but you guys need to start picking up your share to help keep it that way… We’ve seen what’s gone on along the roads passed, and while we have a long and hard road ahead of us, by working together we can all live our American dreams.”

Is this how you see an Obama administration? Do you think the country would take the same action under a McCain administration?

Hate to burst your idea bubble, but Bush has no more power than he’s allowed as President. If that’s more than one man should hold, the office should be abolished.

It’s already happening. Barack even gives people the tools to organize and coordinate such efforts right on his website.

So yes, I believe he will continue to inspire all kinds of willingness to get involved at all levels.

The question of whether or not Bush overstepped his executive boundaries isn’t really within the scope of this thread, so feel free to replace “After eight years of American citizens seeing what can happen when one individual is given too much power…” with “After eight years of American citizens seeing what can happen when they put too much faith in one individual’s capacity to govern or represent America…”.

I think the meaning of the rest of the idea remains the same; it was not meant to be a direct attack on Bush but more of an idea about American citizens’ self-governance.

Given the way McCain has been running his campaign, it’s clear that he is either unwilling or unable to stand up to the Bush/Rove wing of the party leadership. If he wins, I have absolutely no faith that he will govern differently. What does it mean to govern in the Bush/Rove mold? There is no grand strategy, only daily tactics. There are no principles, only immediate scores. Government is assumed to be unable to solve problems, so nothing positive is attempted. Policy is completely subsumed by politics. So, what happens to the average citizen under that regime? First of all, anyone in a marginal situation is left to fend for themselves, and is financially and emotionally unable to worry about anyone or anything else. Those who still have their heads above water look around and see their leaders saying “take take take, consume consume consume, drill drill drill”. How can you expect the average person to resist pandering to their basest instincts? Especially when these leaders are leading by example. With McCain/Palin using Iraq & Afghanistan as forward bases to attack Iran, they won’t be calling on citizens to do anything but join the military. You mention McCain “running” the country; there has been and will be no running of this country. There’s just selling it and managing appearances.

Under Obama, all of those people who would have been allowing the country to disintegrate will instead be trying to bring him down. If he’s able to become President, he’ll have shown that he can beat the Bush/Rove vortex, but it will still be making a lot of noise as he tries to rally the country. He can try to inspire people to action, but after going numb from the last 8 years, plus the cacophony of zombie Republican talking points, people will need some major incentives and structures in place. So don’t expect any groundswell of brotherly love for a couple of years.

I would love to seem him succeed. It would be nice if we really could move away from the Me First attitude that the Republicans actually espouse, and toward the Country First attitude they sloganize, or even the World First that they mock liberals for.