On the day after the election.

November 5, 2008

This is a beautiful day.

We have elected an impressive man to lead us, the sort of man that doesn’t just come along every day or every four years. We have elected a man who promises to go down in history not just for the barrier he has broken, but also for the work he will do.

America’s involvement in this political process has been nothing short of outstanding. More than 117 million people turned out to vote. By and large, they gave thought to real issues and made informed decisions. This is a great thing, too.

But if I can ask you anything, from one American to another, let it be this: Don’t stop here.

Political engagement doesn’t end with the election. When George Bush was elected, we were all either so appalled or so comfortable that we collectively closed our eyes and allowed events in Washington to proceed without involving ourselves or paying attention. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this attitude landed us in such a mess.

If Barack Obama has proven anything, it’s not that racism is dead in this country, because it’s certainly not, and it’s not that the American dream still exists, because it does for some and it doesn’t for others. What he’s proven is that if regular people who are just trying to make it through the week manage to find some time to get informed on what’s going on in our country, and get involved in the political process, they can make a difference. What he’s proven is that you don’t have to be a rich corporation to make a difference in this country’s political process.

You just have to be an American.

And so I ask you, America, and I wish more people would read this because this message needs to be heard: Stay involved. Keep on top of the news — and not just your local news, not just national news, not just news about Washington, but the much-neglected international news as well. America loves to close its eyes and hope that things will work themselves out. It’s the easy thing to do.

But if we want to make this country the beacon of hope and freedom that it’s supposed to be, we need to stay involved. The elections may be over, but neither we nor Washington should ever forget that the politicians still answer to us.

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