A reminder of post-election thoughts

Original post: November 6, 2008; repost: April 5, 2010. A good reminder, as spring rolls in.

Last night was a great night. Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States of America. I had a bunch of people over, and we were all cozying up in my little studio, hunched around my small TV and a table full of food. A good time was had by all (and pics will come soon).

This morning, I was able to have some more time to think about this momentous event. Barack Obama is our new President-Elect. After twenty-one months, the election process is over. It’s been a long and grueling couple of years, and I’m definitely glad the election is here and gone (and that we won).

But this, I’m realizing—this is where it really begins. This is where the hard work needs to kick in, and the hope and the sacrifice and the spirit of giving and service. The election is only the beginning. It is only a beginning. It is a momentous one, but it is only a beginning nevertheless.

Our work is not yet done: we are still mired in an economic recession, fighting two wars, and facing the global threats of climate change and terrorism, among other things. We have come far, but there is still a long way to go. And this thought is not to discourage or to depress; it is a reminder and an encouragement. Let us celebrate this moment, and enjoy it.

But let us not rest on our laurels, thinking that electing Barack Obama to the White House is the end of our work, that he will take over the reigns and guide us to salvation. We have come too far for that. We have been reminded of our responsibilities—we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper; what happens on Main Street affects what happens on Wall Street, and vice versa; what we do at home and abroad affects our ability to effect change for the better; we are, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. This is the way God’s universe is made.”

The journey, the adventure, did not come to an end last night with a victory that put the first black man into the White House; it does not finish with the speech that was given in Grant Park, Illinois; it does not conclude on January 20, 2009, when Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States.

It’s just another beginning. And after the couple of days off that I’m giving myself to recover from the tiredness of the last couple years, I’m going to get excited about what’s coming next again. Bring it on! 🙂

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