I was going to post this in response to comments on a musician’s blog but decided it’d probably make a better blog entry than comment.
I wasn’t going to vote in the 2008 election until I read Barack Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope.” Then, I logged onto his web site, downloaded his “blueprint” and read through all of his policies. Did I agree with every one of them? No. Next I watched his ’04 DNC speech. And he struck me as a very genuine, heartfelt and dedicated person. I felt inspired by his words. I felt *gulp* hope. I began to believe in him and his strength to inspire real change. Obama doesn’t promise HE will change the world. He promises that he will help US change the world because that is the ONLY place where true change can happen.
Government can’t make our world the place Americans hope and dream about, we can. Government can’t hand us a gift-wrapped, worry-free existence tied up with a pretty bow of never-have-to-work-for-anything. Nothing in life worth having comes without hard work and sacrifice. I’ve been hoping for years to hear a leader tell us he (or she) wants to once again restore a country where it is “we the people” who are in control. So many Americans are ignorant to the fact that the presidential election is only one step in the political staircase. I wonder how many people put as much thought into electing their mayors, governors, congressmen or senators as they did voting for a president? Because it’s the parts that make up the whole–they all work together and believe it or not, a lot of citizens have forgotten this part–that we control.
Want to effect some real change? Start in your community. Pay it forward. Organize a protest over an issue you feel strongly about. There’s only two or three of you to protest or knock on doors, so what. You don’t have to have hundreds of people behind you to speak out. I watched a show the other night where two vegans stood outside a chicken restaurant in LA in bright yellow bikinis with handmade signs, boycotting the company’s treatment of chickens. There was only TWO of them but they received a lot of attention, probably because of the bright yellow bikinis, but it’s all about marketing. They knew how to grab people’s attention. Once they had that attention they spread their message by talking with the people or handing them a leaflet. The point? Do something. Don’t sit around and pray for the president to magically make all of our woes disappear.
Yes, there are some things for which only the president can be our voice and in those matters (like foreign affairs) I know I can only hope. For me personally, when it comes to foreign affairs, I think the United States has dug its hole. We’ve stuck our nose into too many other countries’ business and the UN has made us the blacksheep of the family, their scapegoat. We’re the poster child and we catch the blame. Is this undeserved blame? Not in all instances. I am an ultra liberal person and I don’t believe in war. However, I know there are times when war is inevitable. I cannot cast my opinion too deeply on it though because I have no idea what’s really going on. I have no idea what really sparked the military’s response because all I can rely on is the media and they’re about as reliable as the gossip circle we all knew in high school.
“They” beat our hopes and dreams down with fearmongering and cynicsim (propelled by the evil that is the US media) so that we will stay divided and fight amongst ourselves. Because the secret is, if all of us would accept one another’s differences in whatever subject (politics, abortion, gay marriage, religion, race, gender, etc.) and come together as a unified nation of citizens, we would be unstoppable. The government would be OUR government and they’d have to listen to us. But my personal fear is that the majority of Americans will never truly be able to let go of all their “stuff” and accept tolerance into their lives. I don’t agree with everything conservatives believe in, but I understand it is their right to do so. I’m pro-choice and anti-religion, but I don’t EVER try to force my beliefs into someone else’s personal life and choices. Who am I to tell another human being how they should be living their life? I do not have the right to do that and neither does anyone else. This is an area where government has no right to tell we the people how to live, especially the federal government. Why would I deny someone the chance to be loved and legally announce that love and devotion simply because they’re the same gender? That’s no different than men merely 85 years ago telling women we weren’t enough of a person to vote. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everyone. Period. Don’t even get me started on the smoking ban. No one is listening to me now but they will, you give the government an inch and they’ll take lightyears. When you start trying to regulate another person’s liberties then yours will soon follow.
We the people DO have the power yet we hand it over willingly because oh my gosh, terrorists attacked us on American soil or the economy is going downhill right now, so we mere peons must not know enough to do anything about it; thank goodness we have the uber smart government folk to bail us out. *sigh*
I am a firm Obama supporter but I hold no illusions that he alone will make my world a better place. He’ll work hard at his job and will help me, inspire me, to do better in my own corner of the world so that I can make it a better place. And if he can do that to enough of us out here then that’s a lot of change happening. I’m not really going to go in-depth into the historics of an African-American getting elected president in a country that was founded on the killing of Native Americans and slavery of African Americans. But I will admit I was emotionally overwhelmed Tuesday night. I cried. It was amazing to witness such a POSITIVE moment in history. Rarely do we get to witness such things on TV, usually we’re just inundated with the negativity. But to see 125,000 people of every race, hugging and crying together, in that Chicago park was amazing. It touched my heart. To see the emotion so prominent on Barack Obama’s face when he took the stage to deliver his speech, well that spoke more than any of his words. The power of hope was cemented by Obama’s election to president. Now, I hope he will continue to inspire and do work we will all be proud of.
It’s not changing your entire life that makes a difference. It’s changing just ONE thing, doing just one thing differently that brings about change like a wave in the ocean–it starts small but builds until it crashes with the force of thunder on the shore of a beach. And this change not only benefits the world around you but you as well. It’s amazing the positive power of change when put into action…try it, I dare you 🙂