There’s a lot of optimism in the country today, thanks to our new president:
- Black people are celebrating a milestone in their fight against lingering bigotry.
- Young people, who made up the massive base that put our new president in office, are actually engaged and interested in what is happening.
- In the worst economic climate we have seen in decades, there is hope today that things can work out.
Barack Obama has a lot on his plate, and the two wars and economic crisis everybody’s been talking about are just the most visible. It’s going to be a tough four years…maybe eight. But change, especially fundamental change, is always difficult.
We have reason to be optimistic. Barack Obama has broken the race barrier, and his election is no less significant than the abolition of Jim Crow laws and officially-sanctioned segregation. He was elected in spite of being a relative unknown, and he overcame major political heavy hitters in the process. He knows how to get things done…but I think he also realizes he’s not going to succeed on his own.
Our new president let us know, without the flourishes of fancy rhetoric we’ve heard in past inaugural speeches, that he’s not the only one who will have to roll up sleeves and get to work. While it will be up to him to deal with the politicians and power-brokers, the movers and shakers who infest the government and bureaucracy, we’ll have our own work to do. This is our fight at least as much as his.
This is our chance to stir from the semi-consciousness we’ve drifted into during the Bush and Clinton years. We’ve been willing to accept some poor decisions and deceptive schemes over those years. Politicians and bureaucrats have feathered their nests at our expense. Money changers have built financial sand castles and sold them to us. Fanatics and stone killers a world away have perceived us as a weak, soft target. Terrorists within our own land have gathered confidence, and increased their numbers. These things and more have happened because we allowed them to.
If things are going to change, we’ll need to stay involved in the business of our country. It was not just a Civil Rights corner that was turned today. President Obama made it clear this will have to again become a participatory government. We have to guide the change and stay aware of what our representatives are doing in Washington. We can’t just elect people and leave the decisions to them. That’s what got us where we are.
If you let a fungus grow inside a wall, it will look OK for a long time. You won’t notice anything, and gradually you’ll get used to the smell, and not even notice it. Then one day, you’ll die of a bad respiratory disease. That’s kind of where we are right now. Time to get out the pry bars and bleach.
The president can’t do it on his own. Time to wake up…to take responsibility and make sure our representatives know we’re here. Regularly. Time to make it unprofitable for corporations to stick to old technology so they can continue to charge outrageous fuel prices. Time to insist that when CEO’s commit fraud and bankrupt their companies that they go to prison, instead of retiring with their Golden Parachutes.
It’s going to be an uphill battle for our new president: Even as he was taking the oath of office, Wall Street was taking another dive. His work, and ours, is just beginning. He plans to hit the ground running. We’d better do the same…no more apathy as usual.
Blog at ya later,