Yes We Did– Now What?

November 19, 2008

Yes We Did– Now What?

Filed under: what next? — kimwilsonowen @ 6:03 am

I cannot tell you how precious it was to me to vote for Barack Obama in our primary this year. I felt like both dancing and crying when I walked out of the polling place having voted for him for president. To wake up November 5 to find he is our president elect — well, my happiness was second only to my joy on the day my little girl was born.  

Obama looks fantastic. As my husband said, Damn, there’s our new President.


The guy is just too cool for school.

It is weird. He is so good looking, almost too good looking to be so eminently qualified.

He and his family have experienced and embody so much that is quintessentially American, from one end of the socioeconomic spectrum to the other– struggling and sacrificing in order to have a better life. Being raised by a single parent or a grandparent. Loss of, separation from, or difficult relationships with parents. Racial prejudice. Loving, respectful relationships with strong female figures. Ivy League education.  Ambition and creativity alongside economic struggle. True empathy with and gratitude to our military. (Check out the badass designs on Iraq Veteran Tammy Duckworth’s prosthetic legs.)   obamaduckworth1.jpg

She got special patriotic legs for the DNC

A desire to leave the world a better place through careful, factual thought, care for one’s fellow human being, and truly effective, reality based planning and action. Belief that this desire can be realized.

All those, and so much more, so many of us share wwith our new president. We just have to reach out and try, as best we can.

So… yes we did, but now what?

We have so much work to do. A friend and I were joking– who the hell would WANT that job?

It would have to be someone who was not right in the head, someone who was completely power mad (or a combination of both most likely)– or someone who has the caring moral compass, the intellect, and the instinct to bring all parties to the table to make things better. As my beloved hero said:

“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.”

My hero DDE was talking about the military, but these words apply to every aspect of American and global life– starvation, violence, lack of the very basics every human deserves.

I believe personal prosperity and wellness, freedom from violence, socioeconomic justice, and a healthy and thriving environment can– must– WILL coexist.

All that fear, freaking out etc. at the idea that Obama wants to ‘spread the wealth’–

How can that dude at my child’s school who told me to ‘Vote the Bible’ that Tuesday morning ignore these words?


for I was ahungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee ahungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

for I was ahungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee ahungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

I could dig out Bible verses for hours to justify my adoration of this man and my deep belief that his candidacy and victory represent what is best for our nation morally as well as economically. No justice, no peace. I’m no evangelical — by any means. I’m a bit too far into Buddhism and quantum physics and alternative wellness and lots of other stuff for that to be me.

 But I believe wholeheartedly in the spirit of Jesus’ words.

I know everybody is saying this– but we can’t just sit back. We have so much work to do, all of us, as individuals, as parents, as families, as communities, as neighbors, as consumers, as voters.

I find true delight in the prospect of Obama’s presidency– but questions like abortion, racism, segregation, the environment, dependence on dangerous and inefficient fossil fuels and chemicals, factory farming and dangerous and unethical food, pharmaceutical, medical and agricultural practices, hunger, lack of health insurance, lack of a living wage and social injustice in general will haunt us til each one of us turns to the problem somehow and tries to be part of the solution.

My faith in my man was almost a bit shaken a couple of times– he used words like ‘clean coal’ and ‘safe storage’– these are oxymorons!   And natural gas and coal, no matter how clean or safe, are NOT alternative energies.

So we’ve all got to keep informing ourselves, and acting in whatever small way we can. Every tiny bit counts.  Obama’s campaign proved abundandly what lots of like-minded folks could accomplish by each giving what little (or lot!) he or she could and staying united and in communication.

And that is exactly what it will take to save us, Obama or no Obama.  Every little bit.

It could be turning our heat down a couple degrees in the winter and our air conditioning up a couple degrees in the summer. It could be hanging our laundry on a clothesline, having a small backyard or city balcony or community garden, writing letters, volunteering in order to really connect with the true problems, needs and potential  of our society and our fellow human beings, running for public office or working to inform those in public office of the consequences of our current situation and choices and the very real benefits of differerent choices that are more in line with the wellbeing of the human race and the planet that supports us. 

Sometimes there are setbacks– my damn clothesline fell down so the electricity I was trying to save by using it  had to be used to rewash and dry them in my electric dryer. There are some things we’re not ready to change yet. I drive a gas guzzling (but small) SUV.

But every small step counts. Let’s go.


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