05 November 2008

Yes We Can, Now We Must

I've heard a lot of people worried that Obama can only fail to live up to the lofty expectations we've set for him. His reference that we can't solve our many current crises in a year or even a term touched on that as well. But as I think about it and talk to everyone I know who is so happy and full of hope, I realize that these are expectations we've also set for ourselves. As much as we want from Obama, he's already given us the most important thing we need - Hope. I know so many people laugh at this campaign theme as naive and insubstantial, but it's what we really need now.

We've been through nearly a decade of evidence that our best efforts and intentions get us nowhere. For those who opposed Bush, we saw our voting franchise ignored twice and an administration that lied and trashed all the institutions of our democracy while we, the people and our (should be) surrogates in the media raged impotently. In the face of a great tragedy, our Commander-in-Chief asked us not to sacrifice and pitch in, but to shop. He later hid the very real sacrifices made daily by our soldiers from the public eye and consciousness. In the wake of a Katrina, the government abandoned an entire city and, again, made no call for the country to band together and help our fellow Americans. In the face of a mounting oil crisis, there was no call to abandon our gas guzzlers, no pumping of tax dollars into public transportation infrastructure to help make that possible.

Now we have a leader who will lead us, as us to sacrifice, challenge us to innovate, and create the kind of public discourse that allows us to show the best we all have to offer.