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    Did you see the logo of Recovery Program?

    Güven Sak, PhD21 March 2009 - Okunma Sayısı: 1298

     

    Sometimes, how do you do something might be as important as that thing itself. The campaign in the US to tackle the crisis, which also involves the struggle against the crisis psychology, is an example for this. Have you seen the logo of the campaign to tackle the crisis carried out under the scope of the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act"? They have established a campaign that has an institutional identity. Let us show you this campaign and its logo as a whole. Let us identify what the campaign involves and what we fail to do so that a clear picture appears in your minds. Because this issue becomes more prominent in the current period where the Turkish government has found the "correct path" and started to move in the right direction.

    The mentioned recovery logo is in fact the emblem of the public administration established to monitor the Recovery and Reinvestment Act in terms of transparency and accountability. Yes, the US has a public administration to monitor the resources to be spent under the scope of the mentioned Act as well as a web site (www.recovery.gov).

    The logo constitutes of three parts. At the top half, there is a bunch of the stars on the American flag over a blue background. At the bottom-left piece, there is a sprouting seed over a green background. And on the bottom-right piece, over a red background, there are two machinery gears ready to spin. Two interlocked gears are ready to move. The spirit of the logo reflects the New Deal style of 1930 as well as that of Soviet propaganda posters.

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    So, where is this logo displayed? First of all, it is displayed on the web site of the recovery administration which was established basically to give the message: "citizens, follow up where each penny of the revenue from the taxes you pay is spent". Web site of the White House (www.whitehouse.gov) also directs you to the recovery administration web site. Second, this new logo is displayed somehow in the presentation of each project initiated under the scope of the Act. As we said before, the US campaign has an institutional identity.

    The areas where the resources are channeled to as per the act is the most important issue of the day. In this context, even an Accountability or Responsibility panel meeting was held in the White House on March 12, 2009. Recovery "tsars" throughout the US spending resources under the scope of the Act came together. The subject was addressed in the blog of the White House. (Yes, it is correct. The US Presidency now has a blog. I will write a column titled "Have you ever visited the web site of the Turkish Presidency".) When he took over the office, Obama said "The period of making and executing decisions behind closed doors has ended." He said that the "open government" period began; all issues would be discussed openly in front of the public. And President Obama is keeping his promise, in particular in terms of the struggle against crisis. Special attention is paid to ensure the transparency of the resources spent in this respect. Of course, you can assess this tendency as "they are exaggerating a few bucks spent for the sake of the public to remove the focus away from the resources transferred to the banking sector". If you are seeking for debate, you can refute any argument. However, debates are trivial. See the speeches delivered at election campaigns. Is not it pathetic that the debates do not get beyond high-school level?

    There is a giant link at the White House website: "Middle Class Task Force". The initiative led by the Vice President Biden seems to be organized under the context of the "a strong middle-class means a strong America" argument. When you take a look at the picture, you go back to the propaganda period of 1930s for a minute. So what is it that the US does? Americans are aware that this crisis is not solely an economic one. They are trying their best to control the social outcomes of the crisis. In the current crisis atmosphere, either the developments control you or you control developments. The initiations in the US are in the direction of controlling the crisis. Here in Turkey on the other hand, river falls into the sea alone. The crisis controls us. After a certain while, it will make the policy makers introduce all of the measures it desires, as it has recently started to do.

    What did we say at the beginning of the column? There exist a crises and a crisis psychology both of which must be controlled. In Turkey, the government that for some reason persists in not taking any measures against the crisis until recently assumed a "Get away! Do not upset us! There is no crisis at all" type of approach against the crisis psychology. (In high school debates, the aim is not to tell the truth but pretend to tell the truth.) In the US, a similar bipartite strategy to the current one was adopted also before the Bush administration. Therefore, what we asked was not a strategic innovation, but a straight-forward duplicate. At the mentioned period, elections were on the way. Republicans expected that the crisis emerged or become apparent after the elections. However, the expectations were not realized and the Republicans paid the price for underestimating the crisis. The crisis also eliminated the opportunity to carry out any ideological campaign. The republicans tried everything, but they did not succeed. Sarah Palin took a ridiculous attitude towards the crisis.

    On the other hand, with Obama a new period began. While measures against the crisis were being planned, a powerful campaign against the crisis psychology was initiated. The US had a reliable President with good faith and he would do whatever is necessary. And it seems that he organized all official websites around this purpose starting with the recovery logo. This is why Obama is attending an opening ceremony every day. While the President is signing the law, media is making a live broadcast from the site of a project initiated under the scope of that law. (Every act has a purpose.)

    So, what is that they try to do? They try to move the men in the street away from the "which bank will bankrupt this week, whose house will be seized" psychology and get in the "in Washington, there are people who understand and work for us" mood. In the meanwhile, no group is marginalized and no one is pointed as a scapegoat. Just the steps taken are highlighted and the campaign is executed on a clean and positive frame. After all, mud drops on who throws it.

    The United States, rather than dealing with tasks in Iraq beyond its competence, reconstructs its own nation. This is what the mood reflected in the websites imply.

    There is no need to lie that, when looking at these efforts, we feel a bit grieved. Other people are treating the task seriously while we are wasting time at election stages. Everyone is speaking and the words do not worth a fig. Core of the issue is still empty.

     

    This commentary was published in Referans daily on 21.03.2009

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