Friday, November 7, 2008

Grace and goodwill

As exciting events go, election night 2008 pretty much blew the needle off the Wow-O-Meter. While everyone's perceptions of the day emanate from a deeply personal perspective, it seemed apparent that the promise of change resonated fiercely with millions of Americans.

I could not stop looking - and marveling -- at the faces in the crowds. From the west coast to Manhattan to Grant Park in Chicago, masses of people with eyes shining brightly watched with rapt attention as the voting results were announced state by state. The silhouettes, the skin, the age, the gender changed from face to face, but the same glow of hopeful anticipation brought kinship to strangers.

Now as we bask in the radiance of that night, an opportunity has been given to us. The enormous challenges at hand for the new administration cannot be resolved solely by President-elect Obama and his staff. The ground swell of support must rise up and participate in creating a brighter America.

Not everyone can become a public servant or join the Peace Corps. Few of us will sign up with Teach for America or take a government job. But you can help your disabled neighbor rake his leaves. Or volunteer your time at a nursing home. You can mentor an inner city kid. Or cook dinner for a homeless shelter. Small acts of kindness are those first steps that create a strong community; and strong communities will mend a broken nation.

I think I speak mostly for myself when I say the first step is letting go of the anger and frustration that's been felt so deeply during the past eight years. As I lay in bed election night, I realized that the promise of a better future would not shine so brightly had the recent times not been so bleak.

Is it possible that we owe "W" a thank you? Was the darkness that arose around him the catalyst that thrust a historically reluctant country to embrace an African American leader? Was it overwhelming despair that opened our hearts allowing us to act on the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and judge a man based on "the content of his character and not the color of his skin"?

Let's begin our practice of giving by sending grace and goodwill to the President-elect. Light a candle, say a prayer, hold a good thought, surround him in light - whatever your style or manner, put your positive energy into manifesting a future of peace and prosperity.

"Yes we can" should be our on-going mantra, a reminder of all that is possible.

"This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can."

- President-elect Barack Obama
November 4, 2008.


James said...

Pyzahn/Enjoyed reading your blog..
I'm also onboard with the small gesture as a personal signal to acknowledge & support the newly elected leader of our country.
Must admit, until the last day or so, i was predicting to my political junkie pals a potential redux of the 2000 presidential post-election hand-wringin grindfest.

"But Jim, the polls indicate..."

Hey, leave the dang Poles out of it, they've accepted the missile shield proposal, forgodsake..
(cheezy, i know..)

Truth is, I was SO relieved, when the word came in early via the tv media that Obama got it. I kept saying to myself "Geez this is history tonight--It's great/just great!

The challenges ahead are many, but I hope and pray he can secure a change of course for our country and gain the confidence and support of all the folks.


Anonymous said...

I was unable to watch much of the election night coverage due to a prior commitment. I guess the fact that we made plans on an election night indicates how disaffected we've become about the whole process. When we did tune in -- shortly before the networks called it with 59% of the voted counted -- I was skeptical. Fearing they would have to reverse their call.

What I saw of Grant Park and what I've seen in clips since then was truly amazing, as are the photos and crowd estimate from the StL rally. That having been said, we and the new president-elect have a long way to go. So yes, I will be praying for his safety and success. Our country is depending on it...