Sunday, February 24, 2008

Don't put all your hope in one basket

Based on his platform and his record, I believe Barack Obama is what America needs now. If you, like too many folks, are unaware of Obama’s platform and record, I suggest you download the candidate's Blueprint for Change for a start. I also recommend that you read the excellent overviews of Obama’s accomplishments found at Jack and Jill Politics, Media Matters for America and Daily Kos. There is no doubt in my mind that Obama is a hard-working public advocate and one that is able to work well with the other side to execute a progressive agenda. (See his work with Republican Sens. Lugar and Coburn.)

In addition to a strong platform and background, there is something about Barry. It's not just that he is a powerful orator. He is definitely that. Maybe he has just chosen the right message at the right time. Maybe he's just got hella charisma. But something has people of all ages, all social strata, all colors and both political parties standing together behind issues that I think are important. This after eight years of divisive, Rovian politics. Just look at the audience at the speech below from Dallas, Texas.

Yes, Barack Obama is an effective legislator and an inspiring and unifying force. I believe in him and his campaign. I think that he will work toward the things I believe in if he is elected president. But...

Don't put all your hope in one basket

Barack Obama is not the Messiah. I worry about the folks who appear to think troops will come home from Iraq, our international problems will disappear, we'll all get raises and tax refunds, and reparations checks will be in the mail, within hours of Obama winning the presidency. The reality of politics is that change takes time, it takes sacrifice, and sometimes it takes compromising and getting a little less (maybe a lot less) than you hope for. When the shouting and sign waving is over and the work begins, where will you be?

Change in this country won't come from one magical candidate. Change requires an educated and engaged citizenry. As Obama often says, "WE are the change we've been waiting for." Our job doesn't stop once we vote our candidate into office. If, after this election season, the people who are breathlessly driving Obamamania go back to surfing the Internet, watching American Idol and blocking out the world with their little white ear buds, this much-vaunted movement will have been for naught.

I disagree with those who have vowed to pick up their ball and go home if their preferred candidate doesn't get the Democratic nomination. I ask, "Do you care about making this country better or do you just want to get your favorite candidate elected?" An Obama presidency can certainly be a catalyst for change, but we won't see a real difference in our country and in our communities until we, as citizens, take responsibility for our lives and our government.

We should be as impassioned about local politics and civic responsibility as we are about this presidential election. For instance, who is your state senator and what is he or she doing for you? When bills that are important to you come up in U.S. Congress, how do your representatives vote? Do you know? When is the last time you wrote your senator? What do you do between presidential elections to advance the issues that are important to you? Are you part of a environmental group, a human rights group...? Do you stay informed about what is going on in your city, your state, the country, the world? Do you read a newspaper daily? Do you call out the media for shoddy, one-sided journalism that leaves us all uninformed?

I do some of this stuff, but not all of it and not regularly, but I am committed to doing better. After all, on the chessboard of life, I want to be a powerful queen, like SheCodes says at Black Women Vote. Plus, there is that old saying: "We get the government we deserve." If we don't like the government we have come January 2009, it won't be Barack Obama's fault or Hillary Clinton's fault or John McCain's fault. It will be ours.

Track issues and legislation in the federal government, and learn how your representatives vote here.

Find and contact local and national media here.

Know your local candidates here.


bradski said...

Thank you for this post.

The architect's dream is only as good as the project managers, drafters, artisans, and construction workers who implement it.

On a separate note, another child has been murdered for being gay:,0,6177964.story?track=rss .

It's so sad. Strange fruit still swing from the trees.

Miriam said...

Hi Tami. I hope you don't mind. But I am kindly tagging you for a meme game. You can see more details at my blog. thank you.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Tami,

I actually get an email that tracks what they are doing in both Congress and in my State Senate.

It's really helpful; it allows me to see how incompetent legislators really are. Thanks for the Obama link.

Off topic; do you listen to On The Media on PBS? It’s a really good program.

Symphony said...

Government will be as lazy as we allow them to be...Democratic and Republican.

When Republicans are in office we should be just as vigilante, calling them to task as we do the Democrats instead of saying, "They aren't our politicians." and allowing them a pass.

Great post, particularly with the expectation for rapid change.

Tami said...

Thanks for the comments, all.

Bradski, we've come so far re: tolerance but then not far at all. It is sickening.

Miriam, I'll check out the tag.

MDC, I do like On the Media. I download the podcast.

Danielle said...

One of the most important factors of Obama's campaign is engaging the American public. "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

This election is about the American people and our willingness to reclaim our country, participate and help to shape it into what we want it to be.

I see Obama not as a savior, but as a catalyst. He is the instrument if you will, that is helping all of us wake up and believe in this country in some way again.

It's bigger than him, HRC or any other candidate.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Sorry I meant to say NPR...:)


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