by: Marc Ash, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
- Mohandas Gandhi
Our federal government is utterly corrupt; we are confronted by creeping fascism and our environment is imperiled. The problems are real and solutions are few. There is a sense of futility and anger that becomes an oppression unto itself.
Of all things lost these past eight years, none has left a greater void than the departure of our national dignity. We have become a fundamentally unjust society, some say, always were.
People always vote for change. Every vote is cast in the belief that it will make a difference, that things can change. But no vote ever brings about change. Change, real, meaningful, lasting change, is always human. Both subtle and enormous real change come from a sense of empowerment in the hearts and minds of those who seek it.
The election of Barack Obama may not guarantee change. but has already created that sense of empowerment. People walked away from the election saying and believing, "si, se puede" (yes, we can). The critical word being "we."
Yesterday, in a spontaneous fit of rage, an Iraqi journalist attending a press conference with George W. Bush stood and hurled his shoes at Bush. Bush then remarked, "I don't know what the guy's cause is." His cause is the liberation of his people and his land from foreign occupiers. There is much to change.
Nothing could be more critical to the restoration of American democracy than the restoration of the rule of law. Specifically in the nation's capitol. The Bush administration and the Republican Congressional power structure made a mockery of the law beginning the day the towers fell. Even now, they look untouchable. There is much to change.
Forty million Americans have no health insurance and the vast majority of those who do have no rights in dealing with their health care provider. Congress could long ago have fixed all of that. Congress has chosen instead to do the bidding of the health care industry, ignoring all the suffering that could have been prevented. There is much to change.
A new president has been elected. Fairly so, in fact. The new president is popular with the people and comes to office with much support. However, he alone cannot bring about the changes the people seek. It will take more than an act of change; it will take a sea of change, not from the seat of power, but from the powerless.
Those who seek change must be the first to change and lead by example. Others will follow. Each day brings a new opportunity to interact in a new and positive way. We can demand better; we can show more respect for those who toil and have little; we can ask simple, but powerful questions.
If the movement fails, the leaders will fail with it. If the nation changes, so will those in power. Early in his campaign, Barack Obama said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for."
Yes, we can; yes, we must.