Tonight will be our nations chance to begin anew. At the close of the State of the Union address, we will be faced with the grim task of assessing the realities of the world and our role in it. This includes the tasks set before our nation domestically. We face many challenges. I would label them as follows;
1) Global Security - this covers energy issues and hostile regimes / ideologies
2) Healthcare Costs - at home and abroad (malaria, HIV, etc.)
3) Revising the roster of entitlement programs - Social Security, Medicare, etc.
4) Economic growth - Free trade, the environment, worker rights
Wrapped around all of these elements is something I like to call freedom. It is not the freedom of some lame country and western song, but it is the freedom which has been slowly illuminating societies across our planet for hundreds of years. This freedom, in my definition, is one in which people are unfettered by religious persecution (see Islamofascists, ultra orthodox Judaism, Evangelical Christianity, nutville Buddhism or whacked out Wicca), governmental interference (from North Korean oppression to City of Atlanta property moratoriums). It is a freedom in which transparency of action is the norm, rather than the exception. It is a freedom in which information and facts flow freely and debate centers around issues vice innuendo.
I do believe that the United States has a preeminent role to play in the world. I also believe that if more societies had our model, the world would be a better place. I also acknowledge that the model is not perfect and some places have a better handle on where we need to improve.
Finally, I am strongly committed to the use of debate, diplomacy and discourse to achieve a better world. But I am not so naive to imagine that force of arms should not be considered as well.