Change’ requires citizen support
Today marked a paradigm shift in this nation’s continued story. As every American is aware, President Barack Obama was sworn into office just before noon. This momentous occasion was marked by a multi-million-person crowd at the National Mall, who enjoyed performances of Aretha Franklin’s beautiful rendition of ‘My Country, Tis of Thee’ and a quartet comprised of Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill and Gabriella Montero who played an arrangement of ‘Simple Gifts,’ scored by John Williams. Luminaries, superstars, dignitaries, working Americans, children and others of all walks of life watched as President Obama took office.
Yet even with the feeling of a new dawn, even with the sloughing off of eight long years of misguided ideology, even as this truly historic moment happened, I had to wonder: what now?
We’ve hoped for change for so long, that I, for one, am wondering what to do next politically. We’ve all had so much to complain about, that it was really all we did. President Bush was easy to cast as a horrible mistake, but in all the time he was in office, who did anything to fix that mistake? Until 2006, most people merely sighed a lot or grumbled loudly. That election year brought a Democratic Senate majority and what was supposed to be some new life into Washington, but that fell through spectacularly. Now how will we express our political feelings?
I say we back him, give him the help he has asked us for, and follow his example. He has chosen to lead from the front of the throngs, not from a camp behind the rearguard. He is a guide, not a commander, and we owe it to him to help out however possible because he is willing to get his own hands dirty.
The new president has a monstrous task ahead of him. He has asked us all to make sacrifices, to work a little harder, to show a little more courtesy to our fellow Americans and (perhaps even more importantly) to our fellow earthlings, human and otherwise.
How will he approach an insurance policy for 300 million? How will he handle the quest for energy efficiency? How will he treat the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community? What of abortion rights? Sure his platform had all the answers, but those were for an ideal world, where his word was instantly understood, liked and signed into law. The real world will have more to say than his platform let on.
We have more work ahead of us. We will have to fight for some things and merely ask for others, but because we are all collectively the real world, we can make sure Obama’s policies are used appropriately and that they are fair to all. If you have an opinion strong enough to voice, tell your senators and representatives. This is a people’s government, and today has made that clear. Take control of your own destiny and be involved.
Congratulations, Mr. President. You have taken the first step towards staunching the wounds of this great nation, and I, for one, will help you in any way I can.