Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tomorrow The World Changes

It's been a long two years of presidential campaigns, but finally the quadrennial event of American politics is upon us. For me, it's been a time of elation, frustration, irritation, and astonishment. Tomorrow we may elect the first African-American to the office of President, an event I doubted I'd see so early in my lifetime, if at all. Even more, tomorrow is the first day of the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, for America and for the world.

We have come to a crossroads as a country, species and planet. Things must change from the course they've taken the last eight years, or our country, and, I firmly believe, our species will not survive. We are faced with monumental challenges on every front: the economy, terrorism, racism, global warming, depletion of natural resources, a growing divide between rich and poor, worldwide environmental pollution, nuclear proliferation, and yes, even species extinction. We can no longer take anything for granted: not our jobs, our health, our finances, our neighbors, our safety, nor our future. Events have overtaken human resistance and ignorance to the point that we now face global climate change, changes that would certainly affect all our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren; and ultimately, the continuation of the human species on this planet.

More immediately, an ill-advised and duplicitous war has sapped our resources, our blood and our treasure. Our leaders have lied to us about every facet of their plans, activities, and goals. Our image around the world has changed from being "the shining city on a hill", from the global unity and support we received after 9/11, to the hatred and scorn with which America is viewed by most of the world. Our economy once led the world; now we are the world's greatest debtor nation. Our Chinese bankers have financed our two wars, and sold us cubic miles of plastic crap to offer in our stores, in return. Over a billion Muslims around the world wonder if we are starting a new Crusade, and our homegrown Christian Taliban spreads ignorance and fear in the hearts of uninformed Americans. We argue about gay marriage while neglecting the welfare of our children, and we fight over offshore drilling for oil even when it's crystal clear that Americans have to begin giving up the petroleum habit. We continue to fight about the issues of the Sixties while the Twenty-First century is waiting for us to truly begin living in it.

This election will produce the first truly American president of the Twenty-First century. We have an opportunity to begin addressing our manyfold problems while there's still time to begin fixing them; or we can turn away from the future, and leave it to the BRICs to build that future for themselves, and our children to suffer living in it. Time has run out: the global changes that began four decades ago are accelerating, and we may have passed the point of no return for some things. Our nation can either begin to repair our economy, our reputation, our earth, sea, and sky, and our hearts, or we can continue to descend into darkness. We need to begin repairing the damage at home and abroad; we need to begin building the true new world order; an order not of dominance, but of compassion. And we need to start now.

There is only one choice in this election, only one man running for president this election year who can help us find the path to the world of our dreams, and not to our nightmares. And tomorrow, I will proudly vote for him: Barack Obama.

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