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.