The last nineteen months have been exciting times for the nation. I can’t remember when the electorate has been so energized and engaged in a presidential campaign. Youth have registered to vote in record numbers and have knocked on so many doors that their knuckles have developed bruises. This election, dubbed by some as the battle of the titans, has all the makings of a fifteen round title fight. The past versus the future, the ruling class versus the working and middle class, fear versus hope. With every punch (or attack ad) there is a counter punch. In five days the contest will be decided – hopefully. If we can avoid hanging chads, visits to the Supreme Court, or any other creative attempts to suppress the vote we will have done our civic duty by electing the 44th leader of the free world.
But what will that mean to millions of African Americans who live in our nation’s inner city and who have invested all of their hopes in a man that McCain called “that one”, and Oprah called “the one.” Aside from being an incredibly important symbol for the entire African American community, especially for the young boys and girls we have told for so long that if they worked hard enough they could be President of the United States, what will it mean to us in our everyday lives? Will it cause us to become more active and engaged in different facets of civic and community life? Or after the "high fives", celebrations, and satisfaction that comes with the knowledge that we made history subsides, will we return to the status quo? The truth is we should have been in the community long before this election, and shame on us if we don’t demonstrate a heightened sense of civic engagement in our communities after November 4th.
What changes are we expecting to see in an Obama administration? Do we expect our neighborhoods to improve in a month? In a year? While we wait for change to come to Washington, what can we do to change our communities now? What small achievable things can we do consistently to make a measurable difference. The leader that we have been looking for in Barack Obama has been asleep in each of of us for too long. It's time to wake that sleeping giant and assume our rightful place in our community.
I look forward to blogging and reading your thoughtful responses, but I hope that the give and take and back and forth is solution-oriented and provides practical and useful information to those taking the time to read the postings. We have become experts at describing the problem. Let’s really put our gray matter to work and come up with some solutions. look forward to engaging you in a spirited discussion.