Thursday, November 13, 2008

Election Day Thoughts

5 PM, EST, November Fourth, 2008. I held out writing this article as long as I could to better understand the atmosphere surrounding election day. The idea was to wait until the results were in so I could explain how either McCain’s or Obama’s proposed policies would effect the multitude of issues surrounding sustainability, but, rather than bore you, and myself, with more of the same, I thought it best to get deep and conjecture on the collective psychological impact of change and unity.

How will the results of this year’s elections impact economic, social, and environmental sustainability? Answer; by giving us a fresh start, a renewed sense of empowerment, and the “audacity” to take risk and make change. I don’t know about you but after the 2004 presidential election I felt beaten down, frustrated, and most of all saddened to see that the country I was born into as a citizen, a nation who’s ideals and founding principles I believe in, was so divided. Over the past four years, through personal experiences, conversations, and watching society, I’ve
witnessed an awakening of the American people.

12:25AM November Fifth, 2008. This awaking is underscored by record the high voter turnouts and huge numbers of first time voters across the country is best seen in the faces of the hundred’s of thousands of supporters at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois witnessing President-Elect Barack Obama declare that this is not just his time, no just his
win, not just monumental and historic for the obvious reasons, but that this is our time, our win, and that not only, can he not do it alone, but the change that will come from our collective power and the will of the people, us, will bring us to great new heights.

The impact of this event in history will shape the future of the United States of America and the world in ways we can only wait to gain and understanding of. It is true, change has come, but this is only the beginning. Change is a long process and although news organizations have declared this a “landslide” and even a “mandate,” over 55 million American citizens voted for John McCain to be the 44th president of the United States. At a time when many people would not even want this job given the state of things, it is clear who does, and he wanted it more. I also
personally believe that if anyone can heal a nation suffering the sobering insecurities of a bad breakup with its other half, Barack Obama can. The “U” in USA will once again represent something to believe in. Again though, he cannot do it alone.

It is up to every single one of us, no matter what issues are on our agenda, to reach out and have humility. Everyone believes that they are right and with a better understanding of each other we can better work toward common goals. Most goals associated with concepts of sustainability are common, and the seeming opposition to our proposed solutions are not opposed to the better world we envision, they may just not agree with the way we envision building it. No one is pro-global warming or pro pollution. I do not believe that people are against locally grown foods or against locally owned stores. If the issues we care about are not swinging our way, or for some reason we just cannot get “the other side” to see understand our reasoning, it is perhaps because we have not tried to understand “theirs.”

There has never been a better time to start reaching out and embrace humility and new ways of looking at the issues that effect us all, we have a President-Elect as a model. I feel humbled to even address specific issues during such an enormously important week in our history so I’ll leave you with an analogy. The last time a young senator from Illinois took over the Presidency, our country went through profound change that led to the most productive time in our nations economy and building of our nations infrastructure. By abolishing the use of a cheap source of energy and production, regrettingly used to build our nations economy, Lincoln and the American people changed the way we live through innovation, and unity. Look how far we’ve come, and look where we are now.

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