Obama and hope

There is no question that Barack Obama is a charismatic and inspirational speaker and leader. Like many others, I am hopeful about the change he has promised to bring to this country. As many are saying, he has a lot to live up to, and no doubt he will disappoint some – perhaps many – people. He is, after all, only human, and he will inherit some huge problems with this country.

However, I maintain my hope because I am inspired not only by Obama’s own words, but by the movement that has arisen in his wake. Tuesday night was historic not only because he was the first African-American man elected president of the United States, but because of the unprecedented celebration and joy at his election. Unprecedented in my lifetime, at least. I have never before witnessed people taking to the streets in celebration in the numbers that they did Tuesday night, and that itself is incredibly inspiring to me. To see people from many different communities, of different colors, genders, abilities, and ages, out on the streets together crying and hugging and cheering. To see them out there together sharing happiness and excitement with each other. I contrast these images with ones that have been more common in my lifetime: thousands of people on the street rioting, burning things and hurting each other. The celebration of Tuesday night around the world gives me hope that people can stop the violence of the past and recognize that they live together in a global community.

Obama is indeed a powerful leader to inspire this kind of excitement in people. My hope is that people will maintain their optimism about the future and their sense of connectedness with others, because that is how change will really happen. Yes, Obama will be in a position of power, where he can enact certain changes, but ultimately the change has to come from the people who recognize that we are all one community and who, most importantly, believe that change is possible.

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2 Responses to Obama and hope

  1. Kit says:

    Here in Boulder, there were lots of people cheering in the streets, and I saw firetrucks racing down towards the University. It was quite a sight.But I keep being distressed when I hear people saying “Yes, we did” and related things ā€” as the man himseld said, this victory alone is not the change we seek. I really do hope that people won’t revert to complacency. But, of course, it’s exhausting operating at that high level of emotional intensity. But still, so much more to do, like countering Prop 8.

  2. Sarah says:

    Yes, I read in the Daily Camera that there was a celebration downtown in Boulder, but it was quiet in my neighborhood and I just stayed in and watched Obama’s speech was my husband…I am also concerned that people are going to decide it’s over, we’ve won, and go back to not doing anything. I agree, it is hard to keep up that level of intensity, but I hope that people just maintain some sense of the change that still needs to happen and the community they were a part of on the night of the election. Like I often do, I remain optimistic šŸ™‚

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