November 5, 2008.
On November 4, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States of America. His election was historic, not only because of the racial barriers it shattered, but also because this election marks the end of the longest, costliest, and most-watched presidential contest in American history. The tremendous interest in this campaign, both in America and abroad, are a testament to the global desire to embark upon a new course in world affairs. It is unsurprising, then, that Barack Obama was able to campaign and win on a platform of change. Indeed, it was this message—this promise of change and hope—that drew such massive and emotional crowds to Mr. Obama’s campaign.
Following the election on Tuesday, the largest crowd to date gathered in Chicago to celebrate Mr. Obama’s victory. This was a momentous event, but the conclusion to this election must not mark an end to the interest, involvement, and spirit that went into the campaign. The president-elect himself acknowledged as much while delivering his victory speech:
This victory alone is not the change we seek—it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It can’t happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.
No other portion of Mr. Obama’s speech can rival the importance of these few sentences. We must not rest contented simply out of the knowledge that the election is over and that a new president has been chosen. Regardless of political affiliation, anyone who really seeks change must do more than simply vote once in every four years. It is not enough to merely expend this quadrennial effort and then wait lazily in the interim for the officials we’ve elected to fix our problems. Instead, we must take an active role in the direction our country takes.
Continue reading →