I cannot begin to explain how thrilled I am about the outcome of the presidential election. And while I am thrilled, I can't let myself be carried away just yet. Obama is president-elect, not president. There is still too many days until he is sworn in. Too many days for something to happen to him. Too many days for Bush to blow us all to Kingdom Come.
At most times I am very positive. I'm a "cup half full" kinda person. But even though I watched the numbers roll in after the first polling places closed I couldn't let myself believe it. When CNN called the election I couldn't let myself believe it. When McCain gave his concession speech I couldn't let myself believe it. Even Obama's acceptance speech wouldn't do it for me. I was afraid to go to bed before ALL the votes were counted. Even today I'm still a bit wary.
I'm not a doom and gloom person. I'm really not. I try not to worry and stress about things I have no control over. And yet I can't let myself be comfortable with the election. I feel such hope when I hear Obama speak. I can't quite explain it. There is just something about him that makes me feel positive for the country. And I am afraid to be too hopeful because, after all, he is a politician. I want him to be honest and do right for America. But looking at the fucking mess Bush has left of the nation, Obama will have a difficult time of it. And it will take YEARS for him to make a dent in the mess. And for that alone he will be derided.
I want to believe so badly that this country can rise up and be good. I am sick and tired of all the "best country in the world" crap that was spouted throughout the campaign. It isn't true. We aren't the best. We do the same shitty things other countries do while we ride the coattails of the past. We quote Kennedy's "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country" but the majority of us don't live it. I'm no better. I may donate money to causes but I don't go out and do anything physical for the causes I believe in. I don't go out and try to help make this country better. Which isn't entirely true but I could do more. We all could do more.
And maybe that is it. Maybe we all need to do more in order to rise up from the shithole we find ourselves in. The next president can only do so much. The election is over but the overhaul needs more than just electing a new president.
I think, for me, this gets back to the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path of Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. Those teachings really stuck with me after the class I took a year ago. It's about bettering yourself. Bettering yourself will lead to a better community and towards a better nation. It's like the quote from Mahatma Gandhi... "You must be the change you want to see in the world." That is where we need to start. We, as a country, need to better ourselves before we can be a better country. An election can't solve all the problems we have. We as individuals making up this country need to be the change. We can't just say we are the best country. We need to act like the best country. Obama can't do it alone.
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