We Begin Today

Less than ten hours after Barack Obama has won the presidency of the United States, it is already a cliché to call this moment historic. There is so much I am feeling and thinking this morning, so much I could write about, and so much that smarter, wiser, more eloquent people than I have already said and will say in the coming days, but I cannot let this moment pass without saying something.

When President-elect Barack Obama spoke at Grant Park last night in Chicago, he said this:
"What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other."

Never in my lifetime have I heard a president call upon us to shoulder the vast responsibilities for solving our challenges. I know President Kennedy asked us to do this, but I was a baby then, and so this is a first for me and for most in the United States. I’ve been waiting for a morning like this all my life. I’ve been waiting for a leader to call upon our best qualities, to ask us to harness our talents and skills for a better nation and a better world, and to draw energy from our passion for justice, peace, and a humane, restored planet. I’ve been waiting for a leader who, rather than tear down solar panels on the White House roof, or tell me to go shop, or play upon my fears, instead calls upon my courage and perseverance with hope as my source of motivation.

If we are to heal this planet, help usher in peace, stop the exploitation and oppression of people and animals across our globe, transform outdated systems that don’t serve our economic interests, all of us will have to bring our greatest creativity, wisdom, compassion, and hard work to the task. Today we have a president-elect who will remind us of this and demand our participation. And young people in school this morning, and tomorrow, and for at least the next four years, will grow up knowing they have a role to play in perfecting this union.

With great hope for a better future,

~ Zoe
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