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This being my first dKos diary entry, I thought I'd take a moment to iterate where I'm coming from before getting on to other things. That is, while I want more equal access to education and healthcare in America, and reaffirmation of the separation of Church and State, even more important is that we ask our elected officials to enable a meritocracy.

By meritocracy, I mean that we resist the temptation to turn the country into our political ideal. That would be no better than what the Republicans did during the Bush presidency. We must do something different - hold the Obama presidency accountable and feel free to question its major decisions. And we must ask for the best policies, conceived by the brightest minds and considering all of the options, in trying to re-invigorate technological innovation, enable equal opportunity to all, and to circumvent the mess that is lobbyism and spin that prevails in politics today.

Self-introspective analysis and positive criticism are the feedbacks that America needs above all else right now. And I'm encouraged because I see a lot of it in Washington over the last couple of months, at least in the White House. Oh it's not perfect, and that's the point - but it is the heart of progressive politics - trying to make Government the best it can be even if it isn't perfect.

Take economics for instance. Are our tax dollars being spent as effectively as possible? Is Obama's plan to generate jobs likely to accomplish what it's supposed to?

I don't know the answers to those questions myself, but Treasury Secretary Geithner and Obama's economic team should, and they should be talking to the best minds on the topic around the country. They should also inspire confidence, since so much depends on our collective outlook on the situation. And while Obama is great at inspiring hope and optimism, Geithner appears less confidence-building. Is this really what we need right now?

Originally posted to cellsnbirds on Thu Apr 02, 2009 at 02:23 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Similar ideas in economics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The 2008 book by the economist James Galbraith, "The Predator State" argues for a new macro economic system. I find in this a higher level view of what Obama is trying to do because recovery at home is related to the macro economic system of the world.

    Galbraith points out that USA cannot continue to live beyond its means unless external people continue to hold our bonds. They will do it if it is a good investment and if we don't implode from inside. The financial crisis is an example of the latter problem. Empires collapse from within.

  •  Why Do You Think "Our" Political "Ideal" (1+ / 0-)
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    is not a meritocracy, or is otherwise to be avoided?

    Or do you mean "electoral" ideal ie simply staffing-up government with Dems? That's something I can see.

    In any case, we have a huge obstacle in our system, because communication is by Constitutional design an anti-meritocracy. The most access goes to the most money and power, while many of the messages that are best for the common people or for the health of the planet under our system must have the least access.

    If any aspect of the United States needs to be made more of a meritocracy, it's the communication about the people's business.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Apr 02, 2009 at 05:16:40 AM PDT

    •  I won't say "by Constitutional design" (0+ / 0-)

      The Framers protected free speech as they knew it.  The printing press, the public meeting and the pampleteer.  They couldn't have imagined the mass media we have today or the concentration of power it enables over some media channels.

      OTOH, the pampleteer was the political blogger of the day.  And teh tubes have allowed us to recapture that power.  Just look at the Repubs efforts to catch up with on-line organizing, Twitter and such.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Thu Apr 02, 2009 at 05:55:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seeking public discourse worth being heard (0+ / 0-)

      I simply mean that Obama and Congress must look beyond the sound bites and rhetoric of the campaign trail, as well as the partisan alliances that happen all too often in both parties, in favor of policies that will work best. I'm NOT saying that Obama isn't doing this, I'm saying we have to hold him to it - and really, this diary should have been written around the time of his inauguration.

      And yes, I'm contrasting meritocracy with alternatives such as plutocracy, cronyism, popularism, etc. Since I wasn't saying anyone in particular is actually doing this right now, this diary was meant as a general statement of the approach I would like to take in further diaries.

      But I agree, communication (i.e. the media) of key discussion points in the public discourse are vital to this. Ideas that merit repeating should be heard the loudest in the media, but that's all too often not what's being heard. All you hear is the mindless soundbites and rhetoric, and little substantive.

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