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.
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.