Thursday, November 6, 2008

The work has just begun

"I searched for a leader but the leader was me"

President-Elect Obama. I like the sound of that. What I have noticed in his recent speeches and in his acceptance of the Presidency is the way he has gotten real about our future. About two weeks ago he began reminding us that change takes work, change takes effort and if we are willing to do the work we will succeed. Maybe not in the first 100 days, or the first term but we will "get there." His acceptance speech peppered with Abraham Lincoln, The Bible and Sam Cooke, talk about well-rounded. But I wonder how many of us actually heard what he said?

It will take work. Do Americans like to work? In some ways we are the hardest working people on the planet. And in other ways we are the poster-children for entitlement. Will we falter and lose faith when things don't happen as quickly as we think they should? I don't think Obama has set himself up as a Messiah or a Prophet or even Superman (the Al Smith dinner speech WAS funny). But we have elevated him to that level. And we Americans also take an uncomfortable pleasure in watching those we elevate fall. A collective schadenfreude. So to that end I have decided to do something I don't normally do. I am going to offer myself to the Obama administration and to our country.

The work I can do is not knocking on doors or making calls or even getting involved in legislation initiatives. That is not my style. I can offer my spirit and my intention. That is my strength. I can and will offer my deeds and my prayers. I can sacrifice for the good of my country. I can fast and focus and make myself a better person because where one of us succeeds we lift up our neighbors. I can do all these things, with work, with effort. To use religious parlance I will perform mitvahs and work to become a bodhisattva. This is how I will contribute to the greatness that is America. And this is how I will appeal to the better angels of our nature by first appealing to my own. My love to you all.

In peace

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