Suzanne Pharr February 20th, 2008
This is the comment I wish I had posted yesterday—before Obama swept Wisconsin and Hawaii—because it is not about Obama or Hillary or Mac. It is about the people’s great roar for change and involvement in the political process. It’s about people moving from stunned and despairing to inspired and hopeful. It is about a window opening, about fresh air, about the spirit moving.
While I am moved by the drama of the individual candidates as I watch much too much cable news reporting, I am most keenly affected by the voters, their voices speaking everywhere, their feet eager to get to the polls. I can’t get enough of the interviews, of the analysis of exit polls, of the pundits looking foolish in their failed predictions.
It is one of those amazing moments in history when almost everyone is caught off guard. A year ago, who would have thought? Republicans saying they don’t want to rehash the Vietnam War. Young people, written off by so many people over 40, rushing to register to vote (550,000 on Rock the Votes web site alone), campaigning for candidates, and getting their friends and families to vote. Ardent feminists, thought to be sealed along gender lines, voting for a black man. Religious conservatives threatening not to vote at all. Who among us could have predicted this?
And no one is caught more out of step than progressive people. Here is what looks like a sea change of thinking (and desire), and I cannot think of many individuals or groups that are prepared to work with the moment.
My question is this: who will cradle and nourish this hope and activism after the election? Certainly, no President can fulfill that hope in an immediate way. There’s sure to be disappointment, maybe disillusionment—unless there are collective ways for people to get involved in the process of making change.
That’s the local and national discussion I would like to be part of: what happens after November? What is our best thinking for catching and moving with this moment of change? It is time for expanding vision, for responding to longing and desire, for moving to our best selves and claiming a new day.
- Movement building