Who's Change? Obama or America?

Well, the wait is over. The world now enters a new era in politics with the inauguration of Barack Obama.

The question now is if “change,” so celebrated throughout Obama’s campaign, will actually take place to the degree in which people expect. While I am optimistic that Obama will influence a degree of change in a variety of areas within America, the buzz that his presidency has created surrounding the office of the president and the role that office has in the well being of America is, in my opinion, as cause for concern. While it’s obviously too early to evaluate whether change will in fact be realized, the elevation of the president to a degree of savior-like status shifts the focus away from the only way I see America making positive changes: the American people must embrace change, not just embrace a president who preaches it.

Basically, Obama can only inspire change. Americans are the ones responsible for making that change happen. For example, I wonder if people really understand the personal impact of environmental sensitivity at a political level. Or how a shift in global policy will involve openness to other cultures that will need to redefine how Americans view national security. Or how a new perspective on the economy will necessarily involve redefining prosperity and God’s blessing. Essentially, are the American people, not just Barack Obama, willing to sacrifice an old way of living for a new perspective on American identity that seeks the wellbeing of all peoples, cultures, and ultimately the whole world?

And so I agree these comments from Obama’s inauguration speech:

“For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.”

I only hope the American people realize the personal responsibility they all have for making Obama’s celebrated “change” a reality.

We’ll see…

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