*This post is NOT an endorsement for any political party or candidate.*
This past weekend, I took part in a small, mixed gathering of Barack Obama supporters for the “Countdown to Change.” The event was coordinated to familiarize people with Senator Obama’s campaign platform and to inspire individuals who are loosely convinced of the idea that they can actually make a difference.
Beyond this line, I won’t mention Obama or my affiliation to any ideology or school of thought. But I’ll say this much: Obama’s campaign, if for nothing else, has inspired me and the 258,000 donors who have given to it that their voice can actually be heard.
But to my point. I’m not attempting to start a revival amongst my peers by using tired cliches, nor am I convinced that Obama’s approach and rhetoric will guarantee him any more than a few million inspired followers. But it has inspired me to finally put my hand to the plow and stand up for something that I strongly believe in rather than sit back and complain within the confines of my home and in my small circle of friends.
I don’t care who or what you are; black, white, Democrat or Republican. However, I’m willing to bet that 100% of you are not happy with the fact that every month, several more Americans are dying in Iraq. I’m also willing to bet that, no matter how rich or poor you are, that you’d like to see food in the mouths of the starving thousands in the dark sides of our cities.
The reason I bring this up is because, for lack of a better term, it sucks. It sucks that every single one of us has an opinion about all of this, yet is convinced that we have no mouthpiece to do a thing about it. Every four years, we complain that it’s “time for change,” but we still go about our lives just the same. That is, we’ll tune into the news at our leisure and ultimately decide to vote for whoever ended up getting the most news coverage that year from our party of preference. And another four years later, we’ll complain again about how special interest groups have a strangle hold on our economy and how 50 million (1 in 6) Americans have no health insurance. Then we cry all over again that it’s “time for a change.”
Listen, change does not mean replacing George W. Bush. And you also won’t change anything by complaining about how much you hate him. In fact, I think people who simply complain and do nothing to change it are far more harmful to the well-being of this country than the president who currently runs it. Democracy was designed specifically for action and by sitting idly and watching things fall apart, we’re doing far more damage than “W” is.
Listen, I know everyone out there has an opinion. But what will separate those who are making a difference from those who are not is action. If there’s something in your neighborhood or campus that you want to see changed, do something about it. Seriously. I know it’s a foreign concept, but if you believe in something strongly enough and are willing to work for it, then do it and see what happens.
I can promise you that the one word that every single political candidate will throw around most from now until election day in 2008 is “change.” But I’m convinced that “change” means more than doing something different. “Change” means using more than your mouth to give service to a cause that you believe in. And when your mouth starts guiding your hands, the feet of others will follow. Trust me, you can do more for your neighborhood by the end of the month than Hillary, Giuliani or anyone else will be able to by the end of next year. Try and prove me wrong.