By the time you read this, registered U.S. voters have already cast their ballots, and the 44th president would have been chosen – barring any battle of the “chads” as experienced during the 2000 presidential election. Any way you look it, and no matter who won this election, history will be made January 20, 2009, when the newly elected commander in chief accepts his new responsibilities. Maybe one day I will entertain (or bore) my grandchildren with what the country, and the world, experienced in 2008.

Perhaps our newly elected head of state will help bring the luster back to the poorly tarnished image of the superpower nation we once were by placing highly qualified individuals who understand the nuances, customs and traditions of the country they have been assigned to serve as a resident representative of the United States of America. Bullying or using harsh criticism and/or trade embargos have shown little success. Let’s position highly trained and experienced diplomats, ambassadors and attachés in countries where relations are strained, and see what the positive effects of mutual respect.

Let me just close this topic by saying we all need to participate in turning things around, not just in our own familiar surroundings, but outside of our “comfort zone.” Start small. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Help your local charity not just with your monetary donation but also with your time. You will walk away counting your blessings, perhaps even upholding a renewed appreciation for everyday conveniences.

Yes, it’s been a rocky year with the financial market and banking institution crashes, causing economic hardships all around. Can it get worse? When will the situation improve? Will I ever recover my losses? These are the questions that many in our industry have asked. We don’t claim to have THE solution, but we can offer some ideas in TILE Magazine’s Blog Section. Check it out when you have a moment.

If you would like to offer some advise or just sound off, then either send me a note at nalbandiana@bnpmedia.com or join the discussion in our Blog section and become an active participant in the matters that affect you and your livelihood. I wish you all the best!