It is Day One of a new world. A more hopeful world. A more giving world. There have already been glimmers of it earlier in the week. People took Obama's challenge to serve....seriously. All over the country people were seeking out ways to volunteer on Monday....helping in their communities, or traveling to places like New Orleans or Kenya to help communities other than their own. We finally have a president who can give an inauguration speech about how horrible our country's situation is, and still inspire; someone whom I would be comfortable following through a dark time.
The naysayers who have seen Obama's message of hope and change as "lacking substance" missed the point. THIS is the point. Right now. The fact that from one moment to the next, people are more willing to be there for each other instead of out for themselves. The fact that children, particularly non-white children, who were once apathetic about politics and their own futures suddenly realize that their decisions do matter. Their lives are important. They do have a chance, and a choice. The world isn't going to hold them down, only they can do that. And that is how the real positive change in the country will happen. Of course, government will continue to do its thing. Laws will be written, and some will be passed. Others will be repealed. Government officials will make those decisions, ultimately. But how they make those decisions will be shaped by the attitudes of the American people, and we are slowly but surely coming out of eight years of fear and darkness into the light. We are beginning to realize that there is more to the world than our own homes, families, and lives. That everyone's family is important, and that we all have a vested interest in making sure that everyone is cared for.
I hope that Obama continues to inspire as he continues good work through government. I hope that the momentum of this moment carries us all through four years of ever-increasing prosperity (or at the very least, economic improvement). I hope that we continue to remember that it's on all of us, not just on one man, to make this country work.
As for me, I've realized that, as involved as I was in politics through the Obama campaign, and as important as I think it is to stay informed about the issues so that one can vote properly and encourage others to vote and vote often, I don't want politics to be a part of my activism. For example, I probably won't be doing much with MoveOn.org anymore. I realize that that aspect of activism doesn't interest me, and I will leave it to those who can truly be gung-ho about it. Fighting for a party, or a platform doesn't interest me as much as focusing on specific issues and fighting for those. I'm sure MoveOn and I will cross paths many times, but I'm looking forward to performing my service in the interest of very specific things. And organizing. I realize that I do enjoy that. Getting other people motivated to work. I look forward to figuring out how I can best serve my community, my country, and the world. And it feels so amazing to finally be able to say that without the slightest hint of irony.