Friday, November 14, 2008
::What do you HOPE for?::
Maybe it's just a misinformed premonition or just plain wishful thinking, but I get the feeling that the election of Barack Obama has ignited political awareness in U.S. citizens in some small way. Those who have been mentally dormant on the minutiae of politics seem to have been awakened and aroused. The demographics targeted over the last two presidential elections, primarily the youth aged 18-24, were no doubt crucial in Obama's election. In effect, it seemed to have been a brave and viable attempt at bridging the chasm of the generational divide. And in reconnecting wisdom and sage with energy and vitality, there is nothing short of a miracle that cannot be achieved.
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson undertook a war on poverty at the behest of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Central to this initiative was the Economic Opportunity Act, which sought to instate social programs to aid the poor. One facet of the EOC, Community Action, essentially commanded that ordinary citizens in low income areas take an active roll in the progress and betterment of their neighborhoods by forming local chapters and committees devoted to this cause. In carrying out such anti-poverty programs, Community Action chapters were eligible for federally-funded grants. These chapters were the genesis of what we now know as grassroots organizations. Their example provides us with a template of organization for a common cause and community building. Their individual triumphs provide us with inspiration and initiative to positively effect change for the future.
I'm hoping that we tear a page from history and start to become more active in the political realm in some way. Whether it be joining an NGO or grassroots organization that piques your interest and represents your views, we have to get involved and rid ourselves of the messiah complex that this entire nation has been suffering from for so long. I pray that the lessons of the past coupled with our aspirations for the future galvanize us as citizens to actively bring about the "change we need."