Paradigm Shift: The Obama Presidency

It is not by chance there are many of us.
It is not by chance we sing to each other.
It is not by chance the Gods let us touch.
It is not by chance, like plug and socket, we fit together.

from A Room of Bone — a poem in Relationships by Marc D. Goldfinger, edited by Ibbetson Street Press, Somerville, MA

George W. Bush has left the stage of the world. It is Barack Obama’s time. Yet as Barack Obama knows well, it is not only his time, but it is also our time. Obama is our president and we are the people. In his speech many of his reflections called upon us to do our part, for he knows that alone and isolated, a president who works against the will of the people cannot work. We have just witnessed eight years of decline, eight years of waning hope, eight years of spending the birthright of our future, eight years of hopelessness, death without purpose, eight years of the heart of a nation breaking into tears of sorrow.

The glory of Barack Obama is that he is truly the heart of the United States, yet he realizes the heart is only a source of inspiration if all the other organs work well. Barack Obama knows that a leader is only as strong as his ideals; that if he doesn’t lead well, the people will not follow.

Barack Obama does not take his new trust lightly. He knows that the world is at a pivotal point as far as the human species is concerned. He is aware that the path we take from this point is crucial, and it takes us all to task. It is our responsibility to work with our new president, to help him achieve his goals and also to speak out to him when we feel that he is going off the path. Because Barack Obama is a president who knows that he has much to learn from those around him. Obama is a president who is humble, who will keep his ears to the ground, his eyes to the sky, his hands on the plow, and he knows that he must not only say what is necessary — he must follow through with his actions.

Sixty years ago, men and women of colour were relegated to the back of the bus; men and women of colour could not drink at the same water fountains as white people; men and women of colour were not free in the United States.

Barack Obama knows that, in just sixty years, there has been a paradigm shift in our country. That is what makes it great. It is not that everyone has changed in sixty years, but enough of us have changed to make this new world possible.

Barack Obama raises the hopes of the people of the United States. But it is not only the people of the United States who have their eyes on this man with “The Audacity of Hope”, it is the people of the world who have their eyes on him because he raises their hopes too. The world is watching him; the world is watching us; the world is waiting and hoping that Obama is what he says he is, and what he has shown us he is to become the president of our land.

I am a cynical man, but I have hope for humanity. It has been a long time since I have been inspired by a leader, and Barack Obama has won my heart. And not only my heart, but the hearts of many, people in the United States and people all over the world.

There was a time, a long while ago, when humanity was given hope. There was a president who said, after Russia launched Sputnick, the first satellite, that we would be the first nation to reach the moon. And God knows, if there is a God and I believe there is one, that we joined together, each in our own way, and in 1969 humanity walked on the moon.

Barack Obama offers us a new challenge. He does not say that we will be the first to walk the moon; Obama says that we will lead the world with fierce love; that we will “offer our hand if you will unclench your fist.” Obama says that “this is the time to put aside childish things.”. I believe he knows that war is the enemy of us all, and those who choose war over life are the ones who delay the new rebirth of the Human Nation.

It is not just the United States that must grow; it is all the nations of the world who must unclench their fists, just as we must join them. Those of us here in the United States with clenched fists must stop, think and open their hands so they can work with us. Barack Obama knows that this is a world where, if anyone is left behind, whether black, yellow, white, poor, rich, red or just average, if anyone is left behind, we will all be left behind.

This is not a time where we must fight and claw to be the first to walk the surface of the moon. This is a time when we must join hands and work together to walk and ride and sail across a clean, peaceful Earth. There is only one way to do this.

Again, I repeat Obama’s words, which he took from the Bible, and those words are that “we must put aside childish things.” This I know to be true — war is one of those childish things we must put aside. As Obama said, “When it was time for us to face the future, we faced it and did not falter.”

Barack Obama is more than the heart of a nation. He can be the heart of the world. Instead of strapping bombs to ourselves and destroying the future, we must strap tool belts around our waists, whatever tools we use to build, and work to turn our backs on the errors of the past.

There was a president who took us to the moon. Let Barack Obama be the president who takes us all home, and let him be the president that inspires us to work so that all people, all over the world, can be safe in a home of their own and walk the world in peace.

Published in Spare Change News, Jan. 29 — Feb. 11th, 2009.