Mad, Beautiful Ideas
The Risk-Takers, The Doers, The Makers of Things

I try not to talk politics much on this blog, partially because I suspect my own political leanings do not mesh cleanly with the majority of my readership, but also because I don't believe most of what I believe, or write about, needs to be a political issue. Of course, I recognize that everything is a political issue, but that doesn't mean I believe it needs to be.

With that in mind, I will say that I am not excited about the Barack Obama Presidency. Yes, his stated agenda on Government Transparency, Technology, and particularly Net Neutrality fall very much within my own feelings on those issues, I disagree on many other aspects, not limited to the Economy, and failure to identify the real problem facing health care today. I'm still not convinced, but as the election is over, and the man has been sworn in, I've little choice but to give him the benefit of the doubt. He may well prove me wrong.

That said, during the Inauguration, one comment in particular stood out to me.

Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things--some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

This, I think, is probably the most important thing said during what was otherwise an impotent speech. Beautiful, yes. Powerful, not really. Don't believe me on the impotent thing? Just consider what the markets reaction. But the above comment shows that Obama (or one of his speechwriters) is willing to vocalize what makes this country great. Most of the countries greatest accomplishments have been from the cult of the amateur. Charles Goodyear's development of Vulcanization was a piece of home experimentation and tinkering, than any deeply funded research.

There is a deep history of American Ingenuity spawning, not from the mega-corporations of their day, but from the individuals toiling away in obscurity. Even the dot-Com boom, and the Web 2.0 rebirth has been driven, not by large companies, but by the individual who wants to create something interesting. Sure, a lot of those companies have been swept up by your Google's and your Yahoo!'s, but very few came from there.

And this idea of the doers, and makers, is exactly what being sustainable is about. Being able to re-purpose, reuse, and repair are a core principal of living well with the environment. Makers consume, sure, but we consume less. For the new President to so accurately recognize the importance of this maker's spirit in front of such a large audience, was significant to me. While I certainly feel that the new President recognizes the importance of the maker's spirit, we'll see how well it is encouraged and fostered over the coming years.