Breathe deeply. Do you feel that? It’s change. It’s not effluence from the air Obama used to make his inaugural address, nor is it pollution from Chinese refineries creeping its way across the Pacific. It’s evidence of a nascent social organism that we’re all helping daily to build. Change is coming on this day and every day from the goodness in all of our hearts.
Obama’s not the messianic wellspring of hope and reform, he’s just the lucky one that got to ride the wave of the modern zeitgeist to its political zenith. We, the young, own the momentum that put the new guy in office and it won’t simply coalesce on the steps of the White House and roll back. Our generation is AWAKE and it wasn’t the multi-million-dollar campaign promos that woke us up. The conveniently-timed election cycle just happened to direct the awesome power we wield.
As you’ve heard me say before, we college students possess the ingenuity and social capital to radically reshape the world we live in. And it looks like we’ve begun to. Last November, two million more youths turned up to vote than in the 2004 election and by that simple act we brought about a total electoral eclipse.
Ousted was the party that invaded our lives through the PATRIOT Act, stranded hurricane victims through incompetence, robbed us of services through policies of corporate welfare and made us sit in literal and figurative darkness by encouraging energy monopolies and hiding bad, fake and nonexistent strategic intelligence. The incoming Democrat-controlled branches of government will be closely watched, as they tacitly gave consent to the last eight years through letting fraudulent elections, misguided wars and regressive policies go unquestioned.
We spoke, and we elected Barack Hussein Obama to be our new leader. Unless, of course, the results were manipulated and fixed years in advance by the Illuminati that really run the show. However, the dawn of a new era is upon us, so I’m going to try to set those thoughts aside. As I heard from the prismatic crowd of marchers gathered at the Sacramento Conference Center this Monday, “Yes we can, yes we did and yes we will.”
So we can make a difference. What next? In a long conversation I had with Neal Liggins, development coordinator of an urban farming project in Sacramento which will be the subject of my column next week, I asked what he believed had changed in activism since the days of Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil disobedience.
“Nowadays, change is more about becoming proactive than reactive,” he said. “In terms of what can be written on paper, we got what we needed, but we haven’t made it real yet.”
Reactive activism can breed violence and disorder as seen in the riots that flared across the East Bay following Oscar Grant’s murder by BART police. This brought us no closer to justice and served only to rob more people of their freedom.
In the words of Dr. King himself, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” When you become positively involved with the physical human community around you, options are limitless for what can be done to improve our collective lives. Enjoy this day as one of the first where you can look at a black man and call him “Mr. President.”
History has been made, news outlets gush in red-white-and-blue self-promotions, having not-so-subtly blueshifted in a shuffle for ’09 primacy. What they leave out is a much more important phrase: that we are living in history. History isn’t a set of faces on a wall; it’s the ongoing story of humanity aspiring enlightenment. No one has a copyright on our common human story and it’s not available in ‘audacious’ paperback with #44 posed on the cover. History belongs to all of us. Act like it.
CHEYA CARY wonders which tune is more appropriate: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” or “Love Me, I’m a Liberal.” Tell him your thoughts at email@example.com.