In the short days leading up to the inauguration of our nation's 44th president Barack Obama, and in the long days, months, and years afterwards, it is our responsibility as a nation to keep hope on the forefront.
Let me preface by noting that I am writing in response to The Morning After, an op-ed article which recently predicted doom, gloom, and disappointment for the Obama presidency. In response to that depressingly dismal rant and with the presidential inauguration only a few days away, I offer hope.
Yes, hope. If you recall it was not only the captivating theme of President-elect Obama's historic speech at the 2004 DNC National Convention and the cornerstone of his revolutionary election campaign, but also the driving force that motivated millions of Americans, some who had never supported a political campaign in their lives, to turn out en masse to vote.
I recall a day in the Spring of 2007 waiting outside on a crowded field in Georgia to see then Sen. Barack Obama. The forecast promised rain, but the clouds held.
And I watched a man I barely knew standing alone on a platform, mic in hand, sleeves rolled up, laying out his vision for America. I remember how he humbly explained that he knew he wasn't perfect, that he would surely make mistakes, how he petitioned that once in office he would need all of us to commit to help him make the changes our country so drastically needed.
As it turned out it didn't rain that day, but the massive crowd was nourished just the same. Not with water, but with hope.
Obama reminded us of a notion that in lean years, in war years, in times of despair can so easily be forgotten—that in a democracy an election is not the uplifting of one person to dictate his or her will upon the people, but a decision by the people themselves to place someone into office who will best further the expressed agenda of the people. So in essence, on election day we vote not for a person at all, but for ourselves.
"We are the ones we've been waiting for!"
Remember that election rallying cry? Well it was more than just a catchy slogan. It was a dictum, a call to service, a challenge to each and every one us to find some small way to help heal and restore our nation. Therefore, an individual who would deem in advance to presume failure for this presidency can only be one who personally plans to contribute nothing, to sacrifice nothing, to hope for nothing.
As we face the great challenges ahead both here at home and in our dealings with other nations around the world, let us not forget that soon-to-be President Obama is only one man. But together as one nation under his sound leadership we are an unstoppable force.