Now that the dust has settled around the election and over 50% of us have breathed a sigh of relief, where are we? The pundits have analyzed the election to death, looking at all the statistics: of women voters, Black and Hispanic voters, ground games, and campaign spending. It sounds like sportscasters commenting on a football game – who’s play was most effective?
But here’s the glaring point, conspicuous in its absence: Maybe it wasn’t the ground game or the size of campaign budget – maybe this is the voice of the people stating the values of the future, and it’s not about how the game was played. Maybe we’re finally turning away from big business and financial inequality, turning toward acknowledgement of global warming, human diversity, rights and responsibilities, and the establishment of compassion and inclusiveness as a foundation to a sane and just society. The era of the rich, white man is on the decline, if not over. The voice of the people finally got loud enough to be heard-- not because of, but in spite of campaign budgets, attack ads, voter disenfranchisement and all the other election tactics.
But what’s next? Many are now waiting to see whether Obama will sink or swim in the next four years as if everything were up to him and we can all go back to sleep and wait passively for something to happen. There’s far too much emphasis on this old model of the appointed or elected God-King who determines the fate of the rest of us. That model is destined to fail – its head is just too small for the complex body it rules.
It’s not up to Obama to save a failing economy. We can feed it growth hormones and prop up production a few more times, but eventually the whole principle of a growth economy based on consumption of resources has got to fail. Who’s going to handle that one, and how?
Global warming will become an increasingly apparent fact of life. How do our communities prepare themselves, or support those affected?
Obama said in his acceptance speech that it’s up to us to determine the future, and that may be his most important point. He can keep us from going backward, but it’s the people self-organizing from the ground up, articulating their needs and values and visions of the future, that’s going to make a difference.
I, for one, am glad the election is over, and we can all get back to focusing on our own contributions to creating the new world. But I’m also thankful it wasn’t made more difficult by taking a giant step backward. Now we can get started on the important work ahead. Let’s all create heaven on earth—on purpose!
November 8, 2012