Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I feel like I've been holding my breath for weeks, waiting, wondering, worrying. But now I can breathe. Full deep breaths, in and out.

The power of the Obama/Biden/Democratic victory awes me. I have, just for a moment, moved from a place of cynicism to a place of possibilities. Ideals and values that many of us hold dear--economic justice, peace, affordable health care, caring for the environment, education, to name a few--have a chance to become working policy rather than airy uplifting words.

Don't get me wrong. Cynicism hasn't been routed. It's merely on hold. People will continue to be people, with all of the faults and foibles inherent in us.
Selfish greed didn't flee the US in a panic when a majority of the states went Blue. Money will continue to be the currency of power and control. And power will continue to corrupt.

It's not that I think that people are going to change. But I think that we can change--and that alone can change the world. Baby steps. It is possible, just possible, that these leaders we've elected could lead us to make some small change for good on our sweet earth. And that possibility, however faint, is enough to fill me with joy and hope.

Obama has been criticized from the beginning for being only about words. Pretty words that meant nothing, flung around for effect. And words can be worth little more than the paper on which they are printed (or the screen from which they emanate.) Mostly, though, words are incredibly potent. Full of potential, they lead, condemn, inspire, or elucidate.

Words inspire action. Words demand action. And, ultimately, words command action. The Code of Hamurrabi.
The Hippocratic Oath. The Declaration of Independence. The Emancipation Proclaimation. Sometimes, they carry the weight of law. And sometimes, merely the heavy freight of expectation. Even when not heeded, when ignored, when ridiculed, when empty, words matter.

Obama's words have already changed the face of our nation. If he comes to completely disappoint my bleeding liberal heart in the next four years, I will still be proud. We chose him, in part, because of his words and lofty aspirations. And that choice is change. For the first time, a person of color will lead our nation. And he will lead with a mandate to change what the US has been into what we, the people, can be.

We the people could not have made our concerns any clearly, our words any plainer: no more. No more war. No more corporate greed, nor personal financial aggrandizement at the price of thousands of jobs. No more devil's bargains of bankruptcy for healthcare. No more lies.

No more.

Obama's words lead countless people to action. Scratch that. Millions of countable people. Voters turned out in record numbers. And they didn't just vote. They called. They rang door bells. They gave and gave and gave. Having risen to the challenge of Obama's lofty rhetoric, they changed. We changed. And this gives me hope that maybe, together, we can change our world. Even just a little bit.