Upholding Our End

The people have spoken, but that's not enough.

Posted:
 
mlk

The landslide election of Barack Obama represents something extraordinary—but not just because our president-elect has brown skin.

What is equally extraordinary is the rainbow-colored, mass movement that consolidated itself to catapult him into the White House.

Even as we celebrate the phenomenon that is Obama, let us not lose sight of an even bigger phenomenon—that of the American people, waking up and taking history into their own hands.

I will confess: This perspective can be hard to maintain. Sometimes a surfer is so brilliant, skilled and mesmerizing that one fails to even see the giant current that propels him. And yet as thrilling as the best surfers are, they ride massive, thundering waves that are even more awe-inspiring.

In Obama's case, the beautiful "wave" that he is riding is—us! The media see the massive crowds he draws and simply calls us "Obama supporters." We are. But we are also much more than that.

We are a massive "pro-democracy movement" that rose up to terminate the corrupt, authoritarian rule of George W. Bush's GOP. And Barack Obama himself would be the first to admit that our "people's movement" to rescue America did not start with his campaign.

And it must not end with his election.

Our movement was born in the dark and difficult days after 9/11, when national leaders twisted our sobs of grief into a cry for war. Some of us opposed the war drive from the beginning, but we were too few and our voices too faint to make a difference.

But we were the seed that blossomed into full flower as a global, anti-war movement, when the United States threatened Iraq with invasion. When we failed to block the invasion, that movement poured itself into the 2004 presidential election opposing Bush. We came within 100,000 votes in Ohio of unseating a wartime president—without a sophisticated Web site and with very little money.

After enduring the horrors and hardships of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, our movement in 2006 finally ended one-party, authoritarian rule—giving the Congress back to the Democrats for the first time in 14 years.

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