President Obama. Sounds different, doesn't it? Finally, after almost two years of constant campaigning, the most exciting election in living memory is over. The Harvard educated lawyer with roots in Kenya, Kansas, Hawaii and Chicago convinced American voters that he and no other is the leader we need today. To commemorate this historic election, we've changed The Skanner's usual format. This week we're offering our readers a photographic celebration of this thrilling, hard-fought, unpredictable campaign.
President-elect Obama ran the strongest campaign. He did his homework. He showed us he is tough, smart and ready to lead. During the rough ride along the road to the White House, we learned that our new president has incredible discipline, bears pressure with grace, shows unfailing good humor and inspires the majority of Americans with optimism about the future.
Now we have elected Barack Obama to the highest position in the land, he can propose changes to the tax structure. He can move toward bringing our troops home from Iraq. President Obama can restore America's standing internationally by ending our country's participation in torture, and working with our allies to solve international problems, such as global warming. He can push Congress to make sure every American has health care coverage. We hope he does all of this and more. Perhaps one of the major problems he should address is our flawed election system. For our democracy to continue to be the best in the world, Americans — in predominantly poor and minority districts –should not have to wait six hours or more to cast their ballots.
In fact, none of the problems facing president-elect Obama will be easy to solve. Powerful special interests will oppose every change he wants to make.
Perhaps you are thinking that your job is done — at least for the next four years. Wrong! The real work is only just beginning. Positive, substantial change will only happen if we work to make it so.
Here's what Obama can't do for our communities:
• Make job training and educational opportunities available to all;
• Ensure all children receive a good education;
• Turn off our TV sets, supervise homework and send our young people to college;
• Make our voices count in City Hall and the state legislature;
• Promote and encourage development of small businesses;
These are efforts that we must make for ourselves by supporting, honoring and working for the leaders and the organizations that are solving these problems, locally and nationally.
As a community, as a nation, and as part of the human race, we have reached a critical point in our history. The problems we face are daunting: wars; terror threats; lack of secure energy supplies; global warming; rising poverty; the national debt.
Thankfully, by electing Barack Obama, we have chosen a path of hope and optimism. We know that all those problems can be solved, and we are determined to solve them. But choosing to hope and believe also means choosing to work, serve, volunteer and agitate for change. So choose the issue that best fits your personal agenda and let's get to work. Because, in the final analysis, the people who must solve these problems are not in faraway Washington. They are here and they are us. And the time to begin is now.