Morning in America


The First Family.

I had to turn on the television this morning to make sure last night really happened. Had to make sure the results were not being contested, that the election had not been rigged and somehow victory had been taken away while I slept.

But happily, last night did happen and the results are the same--Barack Hussein Obama will be the 44th president of the United States. And here we all are, standing on the steps of history.

Now what?


I’ve been impressed with the droves of ordinary Americans the last few months working so hard on both sides to elect the person who they think will best lead the country into a new era. But surely we don’t think the work stops here? Surely we don’t think one person, or our congressional leaders, can do it alone? The problems plaguing this country are just too big.


With this historic moment brings the opportunity for each of us to carry this energy and enthusiasm into our communities to work for change at the local level. President-elect Obama has done something in his stump speeches and in last night's acceptance speech that our president has never asked us to do: he's asked us to sacrifice. This is a time to cut back and take personal responsibility for ourselves, and to help our neighbors. If a high tide raises all boats, then I don’t think it takes much to improve the quality of life for all citizens. Maybe we, as individuals, organize efforts to clean up neighborhoods, or help out local food banks, or start literacy program for a community center. After yesterday's historic moment, anything is possible.

Through this election, this has been the thing I can't wrap my brain around yet: if we are all responsible for the fate of this nation, what can I do to make things better. What is my culpability, and how can I help? If "we are the ones we've been waiting for," a line Obama has used often on the campaign trail, and if we have finally "arrived," what do we (what can I) do now?

Now, the real work begins.

Comments

LJCohen said…
I feel as if I've been holding my breath for months and now I can breathe freely again. I also had to turn on the news this morning to convince myself it was all real. I loved the part of Obama's speech when he talked about the puppy. LOL. Here is a man who keeps his promises.
STlocaltide said…
Thank you, Jan, for describing how I'm feeling this morning so beautifully. We are indeed fortunate ... and must be responsible. Here we go ...
I am kind of feeling like dancing. And why, I keep asking myself.

I wish him luck...
When I saw the worldwide reaction to the election this morning, the elation and the hope---I cried! That really surprised me. I am usually pretty stoic about most things....
January said…
When you think about it, this victory is simply amazing. And there are no words for the global reaction--other than awesome!
January said…
Guatami, I wish him luck, too.
Thank you so much for this lovely post and sharing these thoughts.
I think many of us-across the boarder-were holding our breathes, and many of us shared in the joy and celebration that was abundant everywhere.
Erin said…
I didn't realize I was holding my breath for eight years.


I wish him the best, because what he has ahead of him is a big mess and a big challenge. But you're right--we can all help. We have to.

-bostonerin.livejournal.com
paris parfait said…
Amen, sister. It's up to us! And now we have the chance to show what we're made of, as Americans. The world has taken such a dim view of us these past eight years. It's time to unite in our strengths, to build a better nation together. YES WE CAN! xo

P.S. The people of France are thrilled beyond measure that Obama is our president-elect! Everywhere I've been, people congratulate me and say, "Bravo, America for change!"
Catherine said…
I don't recall any president of the US bearing such an aura of charisma since John F Kennedy (see, I'm showing my age, remembering Kennedy :) )
Fireworks were going off outside my window last night as I checked the news reports. Just a coincidence - November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day and we are a day ahead of you, but it seemed appropriate
January said…
Catherine, I think Kennedy comparison is a apt one. Turnout for this election was inspired.
January said…
Tara, I love hearing about the global reaction. thanks for sharing.

YES WE DID!

Still feels good to say days after the election.

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