Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Call to change.....what are we waiting for?


I could paraphrase the article below and make it "my own" but I'd rather you just speed-read it and call it YOUR own - this NYTimes editorial makes great sense to me!

By LAWRENCE DOWNES
Published: November 10, 2008
Last week many Americans stopped to savor a moment of such beauty and amazement that the thought of it, even now, is enough to draw tears.
But never mind that now. It’s time to pack away the Obama glow. Young people should save it for when they’re old. The men who landed at Normandy spent no time thinking about what an awesome invasion they had just pulled off; they had to go liberate Europe. Postgame celebration and analysis are fine, for a game, but this country’s challenges are not recreational.
Barack Obama acknowledged as much in a victory speech that was serious, almost somber. He did not rejoice or gloat. Instead, he warned people of the hard work ahead: “I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for 221 years — block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.”
Mr. Obama was speaking about next year, and his subdued tone was fitting. The country has lost so much since 9/11. The sense of national unity forged in that catastrophe has been squandered. Fear and a sense of impossibility have taken root like viruses. The country is not in the best shape to simultaneously fix a sinking economy, a withered government and an ailing planet. But it has no choice, and not much time.
So why wait until January to get started?
Mr. Obama has troops for the job: tens of thousands who spent months on the ground campaigning for him, becoming conversant in the issues and comfortable with approaching strangers to enlist their help.
There are millions more who embraced his urgent message: he rode to victory on the leading edge of a wave of Americans, including millions of new, previously disengaged voters — young people, immigrants and others — who wanted to change the country’s direction, to reassert a hopefulness that many feared had been lost.
It would be a shame to have poured all that idealism — and money, don’t forget — merely into one man’s election. Mr. Obama could set loose his army right now to start bringing about the change he promised — by working for local nonprofit groups and causes.
He could use his enormous database to lead this effort. Through cellphone texting and e-mail he could quickly mobilize thousands, maybe tens of thousands of volunteers — not for partisan purposes; what’s the point of that? — but for the everyday, unsung, tiring work that gives community organizing a good name.
Mr. Obama doesn’t have to tell anyone what to do, only to do something good. All you phone-bank callers and door-to-door volunteers, you envelope stuffers and canvassers, who worked countless hours and now may have a little time and energy left over: Help homeless and hungry people.
Work for an environmental organization, a food pantry or a community garden, or all three. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan will soon be flooding colleges on the new G.I. Bill, many of them wary and troubled by traumas overseas, unready for the shock of immersion. Some local cause is struggling even now. Find it and pitch in.
Mr. Obama always said the race wasn’t about him. That’s true. Of course he ran a great campaign. It was awash in energy, talent and money. He outorganized, outmaneuvered and outspent John McCain all over this country.
Mr. Obama, who surfs, knows that you can take credit for timing, grace and balance on the face of a great wave, but not propulsion. Americans who surged to the polls to give him their votes are surely ready right now to give even more, to one another, if he asks. End of editorial.

What are WE waiting for? Are we basking in victory - simmering in defeat? I'm wondering if this election has changed me, has it changed you, has it changed the big, fat collective US? What do you think?

5 comments:

  1. I cannot answer your questions as I am not an American. I can however write as a citizen of the world. The election of Obama is very likely to have long reaching effects on countries like India where cast, religion, language, class and on top of it all, gender, play havoc on the country's well being. For many of the down trodden and activists working for their betterment, this election is a watershed moment when their belief in themselves and the rallying cry, "yes we can" has been reinforced.

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  2. I'm waiting for realization of the dreams descended from the "audacity of hope." I figuratively hold my breath, hoping that the travesty and tragedy of hateful reaction to John Kennedy's hope isn't repeated.

    I'm pleased that I don't see the people around me "basking in victory - simmering in defeat." We had the great privilege of making a corporate choice and now we proceed based on that choice.

    I feel changed by the return of some hope for improvements in attitudes, implementation of government, and a respect for the dignity of a much wider range of human beings. I feel more hope that there can be improvements in the images of the USA, from the self images of its citizens to the images in the eyes of people around the world.

    I am pleased to see a leader calling for some personal action and personal sacrifice. I look forward to the possibility of a culture that considers productivity more important than consumption; ... the possibility of culture that considers waging peace to be better, and cheaper, than waging war; ... the possibility of a culture that understands that giving up some time, money, effort for the commons can improve everyone's quality of life; ... the possibility of ...

    I'm not convinced that the choice of Barack Obama as President has changed much other than attitudes in the "big, fat collective US" yet. I expect the choice will lead to a pace of change that is a bit higher than usual. The choice shows that much has changed in my lifetime.

    It is our privilege to effect our little piece of change while we breath in this world.

    End of Geezer's editorial.

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  3. great editorial, thanks for sharing it. I also enjoyed geezer dude's follow-up, especially that 4th paragraph. We have a moment to seize and it is now. I think I need to contemplate what my sacrifices will be and my offerings.

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  4. Rummuser, Geezer and Abbey - What wonderful comments and insight you add to this editorial that I found so interesting.

    RM - The global perspective is one that I can only imagine and its comforting to have your thoughts affirming my prayer for the downtrodden of the world to see America's history-making election a sign of hope for them.

    Geezer - Your editorial stands on its own two legs and further challenges me to examine what I will do to aid Obama with his audacity of hope.

    A - Emphasis on 4th paragraph - again for me personal reminder of my challenge to myself!

    It's only been 1 week - feels much longer since the election results were announced!

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  5. thank you for this thought provoking post. i, too, am quite impressed by the quality of responses here...

    as often happens, this muddled around in my brain for a couple of days and then popped out in my own post this morning :-)

    xoxoxo

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