I remember this feeling

As I watched the inauguration early this morning, I sensed something; something I hadn’t felt for what seemed like ages. I guess it is cliched hopefulness but also confidence that things will get moving, cringes will go unfelt and that pettiness might go out the window. It is so hard to find a word … but then I remembered the last time I had felt these type of things.

It was just under a year ago that the new PM apologised to the stolen generations in a ceremony that captured the nation. We don’t have many of these moments but I wrote about what I was feeling at the time and the word was “pleased.” Having listened to the speech today, I am pleased again.

But it also got me thinking about why I haven’t been so pleased for the past year. It is not simply that circumstances in the world have changed so markedly. No, what I am displeased about is that sense of engagement that the new government brought in the first couple of months of its term seems to have gone. The government today does not seem as engaged with the community. It has adopted a position of standing back. Something more managerial. Maybe that is appropriate for the circumstances, I don’t know. Nonetheless, the cost of that is a feeling of distance. Its something to think about. For the moment, time to update my Facebook status.

2 thoughts on “I remember this feeling”

  1. I hate to sound cynical, but these are all just words. Empty words. Meaningless unless they are accompanied by action, which is rather rare in the case of politicians.

    I know I am a simpleton when it comes to politics, but I am surprised at how much attention is paid to inauguration speeches.

    I bet if you benchmarked them to actual performance and outcomes they would be utterly meaningless–in fact, likely deceptive. Or, to use the characterisation of a very successful investor, a contrary indicator; that is, take the words as a guide as to exactly what will not happen…It is like using the talking heads on CNBC for the purposes of forecasting what will occur in financial markets.

    Again, not to be too controversial, but Barrack Obama has little real-world leadership or execution experience; he has not been forced to make many decisions that have truly catastrophic consequences for both himself and others. And now he is commander-in-chief of an incomprehensibly complex multi-trillion dollar economy.

    The bottom line is that there is a huge chasm between the
    ight words and the
    ight decisions. In fact, in my experience the two are uneasy bedfellows.

    So while I pray that President Obama is successful in his endeavours, the proof will ultimately be in his pudding. The time for talk and stump speeches is past–this is now all about execution.

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  2. I would guess the contrast in your perceptions of an engaging or managerial Government is largely a function of the prevailing matters of the day.

    Signing Kyoto and issuing an apology are necessarily proactive decisions. So is the 2020 summit and its constituent ideas. Proactive decisions and engaging with the community are largely complementary.

    By contrast, responses to the financial crisis are reactionary, by and large. You might argue that you can still engage with the community with regard to reactionary decisions. To some degree this is correct. Yet reactionary measures typically require responses in tight timeframes, as well as the appearance of “decisiveness”. These characteristics conflict with any intent to engage with the community.

    I think criticism of the Government’s managerial rather than engaging tendencies is most apt with regard to the National Reform Agenda. The NRA is about proactive measures, so the lack of transparency about what is or isn’t on that agenda and why, as well as decisions on courses of action does our Governments no credit at all.

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