As we reflect on the results of this most recent election cycle, we see that the bitterness and divisiveness was greater than ever before. All the focus was placed on ‘what can this candidate do for me’ or ‘how can this candidate improve my life’. At the same time, we see one of the worst economic crisis this country has ever seen, with record foreclosure rates, very high unemployment, and lower wages in addition to the failure of many of our banks. The economic issues eclipse the other major issues we face in this country that affect our health and welfare as individuals—namely the healthcare crisis and rising homelessness.
All across this country, we voted in record numbers. Regardless of who we voted for, most people still voted for a leader they hoped to be a catalyst for change. Both Barack Obama and John McCain had elements of that in their campaigns.
In his acceptance speech, as well as in other speeches by Obama previously, he highlighted the need for everyone to come together, regardless of political affiliation, gender, religious convictions, race, sexual orientation, or any other differences. To come together and give of ourselves to our community, to our State, to our Country, and even to our global community.
For far too long, we have sat back and asked our leaders ‘what are you going to do for me’ and we have hesitated to become a part of the solution. Now is the time that we all need to take action. The energy that has been generating among everyone during this election cycle needs to be refocused now toward an energy of service toward each other. The change we seek will not come by idly sitting on the sidelines. The change will come when we all come together and work toward the common goals. That will be the true transformation, of which Obama has suggested.
During his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Obama spoke about issues such as abortion and gay marriage. For both issues, he acknowledged that we all have very different views on these issues. However, for abortion, we can all start from a place where we acknowledge that we have many unwanted and abused children. We can find a solution for that. We can work together to lower the number of unwanted pregnancies. These are things on which we can all agree and we can work together in our communities, all the while lowering the ‘need’ for abortions and moving our focus from that issue toward an issue of caring for the needs of the people in our families and in our communities.
I am strongly encouraging everyone to become involved in community service of some sort. Whether it is through volunteer work or finding a job with a good service-oriented non-profit organization, the rewards have no limit. I also encourage everyone who stepped up during this election cycle and worked on a campaign to remain involved in the political process. Write letters to your leaders. Call your representatives and communicate your concerns and ideas. Attend the town halls that your representatives hold from time to time. I can say from experience that it makes a difference.
It was loudly proclaimed that ‘Yes We Can’ is now ‘Yes We Did’. As a country we’ve worked together in many ways to get to where we are. I implore everyone now to say ‘YES WE WILL’. Yes we will be a part of the change that we seek. Yes we will work side by side with our neighbors to truly transform the world around us by embracing the positive change we generate.