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Friday, September 05, 2008

Change - A Clarion Call for Who?

This year's presidential election may be one of those times when Americans must decide if they really want change. There couldn't be a clearer or more visual choice for Americans to make, if we're really intent on change.

Looking retrospectively at the concept of change, it's easy to see when it happens, what the key catalysts were, the clarions for the causes where change meaningfully occurs.

It's "a day that goes down in infamy" clarion call of Franklin Roosevelt or "the torch has passed to a new generation" of John F. Kennedy, and, of course, "I have a dream" by Martin Luther King. It's easy to see it in retrospect - you can point right to it - "that's change". In the Bible, it's the angels who set the stage for change. They arrive just before something unbelievable happens - like the nativity or meeting the Apostles in the tomb of Jesus after the Crucifixion and a new religion is formed.

But, when so few Americans today understand history, or can even define what they mean by change, it's completely impossible to transcend these pivotal moments of the past into a sense of future. We need a clarion call for the future.

I believe Sarah Palin became that clarion call for the Republican Party. Think of her unqualified candidacy what you will, as I have, but she's now the angel of change for the Republicans. Unfortunately, her clarion call is one of regression. "Let's change. We need to become more like me!," she seems to screech to me in her hammering speeches (she doesn't give interviews yet, so we don't really know what her real voice sounds like). Is that change? Well, for the millions of people who think Sarah Palin is just like them, they must want change to be like vanilla ice cream - predictable and refreshing.

Democrats, obviously, have their clarion call in Barack Obama. He represents youth, intellect, a face for the world to look at and say, "he looks a lot like me", because, after all, most people on the earth do, look a lot like him.

So, when American voters go into that polling box on November 4th, 2008, they will enter a very low profile cubicle which hardly stands up to a day of intense in-and-out traffic. Nevertheless, by the stroke of a simple pencil, an act performed in a humble square stand up box, they will collectively create a profound statement about change.

And the clarion choices for change are:

(1) A vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, who, like the Old Testament Sarah, wife of Abraham, gave birth to a son in her old age, and will bring new life to the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln; or

(2) A Presedential candidate Barack Obama who, when elected, will lead our idealistic American nation into being an energizing change agent for the world - because, he looks a lot like all of us to the entire world. He represents the fullfillment of The American Dream.

Well, Americans don't vote, or much care, for what the world thinks. It's a problem we need to change, because the world simply isn't about "us" in the US anymore. Rather, Americans must learn to become universal change agents, supporting a world of peace and prosperity, consistent with our core American values supporting freedom, love of God and self worth.

Meaningful change, however, always begins with the the youth. This year's primary election rallied hundreds of thousands of young people who actually registered to vote. Of all the socio-economic demographic groups in any generation, it's the youth of their time who absolutely "get it", when it comes to change.

And, I believe, Barack Obama looks a lot like them.

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