After months of obsessively listening to NPR and getting incredibly wrapped up in the campaigning, debating, and fact-finding, the election is finally over. I've given myself a few days break from listening to political news, and I hope the rest of you have allowed yourself some time to do the same, to recover from the tension that I'm sure lots of us have been feeling leading up to this momentous, historic occasion. Regardless of who you were rooting for, our lives are never going to be the same again. To my fellow Obama supporters
Hooray! Over a year's time and lots of hard work finally succeeded in the first step on the long road to recovery for our country. This was the easy part, however. So much effort was put into getting Obama into office that some of you might not realize that we have so, so much work ahead of us. I'd like to tell you that you've got until January 20th to rest up and relax, but we're honestly so far behind that we need to get started healing NOW. That means being a more responsible consumer, by buying locally and living a more sustainable lifestyle. That means decreasing fuel consumption (I know it's cheap again, but cheap gas is going to continue getting us into trouble!). That means living within your means, and not believing that everyone deserves to own a house and a big screen tv. That means doing whatever you possibly can to help those around you, whether you're joining grassroots organizations
to stamp out poverty in our country or fighting against animal cruelty
or giving money or your time to ending genocide in Darfur
, we can make a difference. We will
make a difference.To those who did not support Obama
I understand that you may be feeling a certain degree of sour grapes over the "loss" of this election (believe me, do I EVER know that feeling! hello, 2000 and 2004). I put loss in quotes because I honestly don't believe that anyone was the loser on Tuesday. You may not have noticed, but during the last 8 years, about half of the country's voices didn't seem to be heard, didn't seem to matter. You might not have noticed because you were not a part of that collection of citizens. One thing that I have noticed as I've watched Obama campaign over the last year is that he seems to be interested in what everyone
has to say, not just the people playing for his team. He has succeeded in uniting a great, huge number of people in our country, people who might not care for each other in any other arena, but who recognize that they must band together to bring about change that we all can get behind. I am hoping that this carries over into his presidency, that even those who were not on our "team" will still join with us to make our country, our world a better place. Because this is not about teams. We are one country, under many or lack of gods, and I have to believe that if we've all chosen to stay here, that we all have a vested interest in being good people, and good members of the world community. It's going to take all of us, and we want you with us, whether you hate us for our "party ideology" or not. We all have a voice, and we can all use it, regardless of who is in office.To the rest of the world
Our relationship with you guys has been a tumultuous one, and for that I'm sorry. I know that, following September 11, 2001, we had the support of almost all of you behind us, and our actions following that have alienated a lot of you. I hope that with a change in leadership, we can begin again to cultivate a good relationship with the rest of the world. Believe it or not, I think a lot of us in the US realized that we're the spoiled adolescents of the world community. We're an awfully young country, comparatively, and we have a lot of growing up to do. We're going to need a lot of help and moral support while we slog through the mess we've gotten ourselves into, but we are on our way. Please don't give up on us.To everyone
We've got a lot of work ahead of us. We need to make some repairs in Washington, including restoring the checks and balances to the branches of government, and making sure that the voices of special interest groups are not regarded any higher than those of the regular citizens. Everyone (everyone!) needs to work together to repair our broken economic system. We need to stop paying lip service to the idea of bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle, and we need to make sure that the segregation of the different political parties in Washington doesn't become more important than working together to make our country great.
For decades, progress was an ideal to our people, one that we were proud to get behind. We need to regain that idea as a goal, because we've had some setbacks recently that are stunting our growth as a world power. When taking away a group's civil rights becomes a more important issue than the safety of our troops or the economic security of our country, we need to take a step back, re-evaluate our priorities, and realize that limiting the civil rights of ANY group is never a sign of progress. Change will come, and measures like California's Proposition 8 are just delaying the inevitable, so let's grant them equal rights and get back to the other issues at hand.
I mostly want you all to know that I love you, all of you, and I am so excited to be witness to the great things to come to our country. We are making history. Yes, we can has change.
Karrey SmithAn Obama-supporting Iowan