Monday, November 10, 2008

God Bless Newsweek

Their post-election Special Edition arrived on Friday and I spent my Saturday night reading it word for word. Even the ads. What appears below in italics are quoted in order of appearance from Newsweek. The non-italic type is my thought process as I read.

First, let me say that I was thrilled that Obama won. I cried, tears of relief more than any other kind. I felt brimming with hope, a chance for true change.

Jon Meacham writes, “His voters share convictions, not experiences.”

Now we need to wade in, make some serious choices and share experiences. Government, too. For us citizens, we need to consider where we’re going to put all that energy we created through the election season. In my Huffington post this week, I suggest that we each pick one—one issue that we care about and start now to take action to change it the way we think it ought to be changed.

A Liberty Mutual ad read, “For one Tuesday each November, the chores, duties and errands can all wait. Because democracy can’t.”

Democracy, that crazy ideal foisted upon us by the Founders of our nation really does involve a government of the people, by the people and for the people. People isn’t just a generic term, dear one. People is made up of persons, individuals, who by their choices make a difference.

Raina Kelley, writing to her four-month-old son, writes, “He did not simply dream of being president, he summoned the discipline to get there.”

This is what’s called for now, in all of us. Discipline. The slow, tiny action steps that make for both eventual and overnight success. Pick one, one issue and act. What’s the thing that bugs you the most about where our universe is right now? Global warming, global cooling? Polar bears? Panda bears? No arts education in our schools? Diminished athletic programs in schools? Do something about that thing, whatever it is.

T Rowe Price’s ad said, “Re-evaluating your investment choices?”

I’ll say. I’m taking every single penny of my consciousness out of the ‘we have a terrible government’ account and putting it into the ‘yes, we can and yes, we did’ account. And I’m asking myself seriously, what do I want to invest in for our country’s future? For me, trees are important—very important, and so is, as always, peace.

Rick Perlstein writes, “What can Barack Obama do? He’ll need help.”

Duh. Duh. Duh. Yet I worry that the energy and the euphoria of the election cycle will give way to the lethargy and carelessness of past years. What do you care about? DO SOMETHING about it. Now. While you/we still have the energy.

Newsweek goes on, “Obama used to send listeners out of his stump speech with five words: Let’s go change the world.”

Notice the little pronoun in there? It’s not “me.” It’s “us.” Let US go change the world. Obama can’t do it alone, dear one. Even if he is the President of the United States.

A U. S. Bank ad made me laugh out loud: Fly high. Go far. Yes, the future looks brighter with us.

Now they, of course, meant U. S. Bank, but I saw us. The future does look bright for us, as a people, as a nation, but only if we DO what’s ours to do.

Oprah Winfrey is quoted, “Winfrey spoke of reading ‘The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,’ how the enslaved Pittman was searching for ‘the One,’ the child savior who would lead her people to freedom. Well, I believe, in ’08, I have found the answer to Ms. Pittman’s question. I fo-o-u-und the answer! It is the same question our nation is asking: ‘are you the one? Are you the one? I’m here to tell y’all, he is the one. He is the one. . . Barack Obama!!”

Oh, dear one. Yes, he is the one, the one we elected to be our president, but Barack Obama, no matter all the things he definitely is, is NO savior. In fact, God help him if he or we think he is. Barack Obama is a good man, connected to his ideals, and aware that he needs a team to get done what needs to be done. Are you on his team? Good, because that means you’ve picked one issue and gone to work in its behalf.

A Royal Bank of Scotland ad: Commitment. Make it happen.

And that’s it in a nutshell. We have to commit. Now. To making the changes we want to see in the world.

On November 3rd, speaking in Florida, then-Senator Obama said, “We have a righteous wind at our backs.”

We do. We have the tremendous momentum of the election season. We have the joy, the hope, the release into faith in our country. Let’s harness that energy and commit. Pick one issue, dear one. One, and do something.

Anna Quindlen has been a favorite writer of mine for decades. She sums up Newsweek’s issue stunningly. Citing Barack Obama’s race speech, she writes, “He made the political spiritual.”

And that, blessed one, is my whole point. Everything is spiritual from our votes, to our country, to our president, to our commitments, to the air we breathe, to the issue we commit to changing.

So I say, God bless Newsweek. May each of us pick one issue and go at it.

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