Carry the change

Last week’s election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States heralded a great shift in power in this nation – it was the cry of a new generation coming to power and a wrestling of the reins of history the baby boomers who have led us so far astray. More crucial, even, than president-elect Obama’s support among black and minority voters was his overwhelming support among the nation’s youth. He assumed the role of our candidate in a battle that pitched the ways and thinking of the past against that of the future.And we won. And rightly, justly, heartily and tearfully we celebrated. We hollered, we drank, we marched and we embraced one another in a surge of joy and relief on the kind of scale and power that we will likely never again be a part of. But we would like to take this opportunity to hammer-in the sober reality of that moment. It is a timeless, universal and even clichéd truth – with this great new power we have assumed, we must also assume great responsibility. As impressive and inspiring a character as Obama is, it would be unfair and unreasonable for us to expect him to bandage this country all by his lonesome. We must channel the energy that propelled the man – despite great odds – into the White House to allow him to create that change. Like it or not, the house is now ours and, though we did not make the mess, it is our duty to clean it up. So yes, fellow students and fellow Americans, rejoice! But do not do so without keeping sight about what it is we rejoice for. It is not because we have already succeeded, but because the great weight that slowed progress and made change a struggle has been lifted – the seed of reform has been planted. The planting of a seed is not the end of the story. The uphill climb is still ahead of us, and if this country – if our fellow men and women – are to succeed all who care must focus their efforts on this journey. There are no simple prescriptions for change, but we can say this: we must all find some way to contribute.