Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Our New Green World
Today we all awoke to a brand new world. A world filled with hope. A world with an America we can all believe in again. For the first time in probably a decade I woke up free of apathy and cynicism. And I woke up so proud to be an American and proud of my fellow citizens for standing up and declaring that we would no longer stand the status quo, and that in one day we could change the future. Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 the majority of Americans reminded the world why America is so special and why democracy, our democracy, has changed the world and can change it again.
I started crying at 11:08 pm when CNN & MSNBC both declared Obama the winner and I've barely stopped since. The city roared and people poured out onto their balconies, into our courtyard and into the streets. The only other time I've experienced anything like this was 1986 when the Mets won the World Series and all of NYC let out one large gasp. I had no idea that I would react like that. Hope and jubilation makes you do things you never thought your jaded city persona would ever do. Like hug every one of your colleagues all day long. Like smile and say hello to every person you pass on the street. Like start making plans for staying in Washington, DC when all you've done for the past two years is try to find a way to leave. Like keep hugging your kitties and telling them that the world has changed. Unfettered optimism is a new world order for me.
Electing Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States signals the coming of age of our generation - the Baby Boomer Cuspers - those of us born in the early 60s who aren't quite GenXers and not quite Baby Boomers. I like to say that we have the best aspects of each of those generations. And Barack represents the best aspects of the best of us. We have now entered the "Age of Obama". And it's an age that I am honored to be in.
Thomas Friedman ended his op-ed today in the Times by saying "There is just so much work to be done. The Civil War is over. Let reconstruction begin." What was so brilliant about Obama's acceptance speech was the way his strength of purpose, confidence, and elegance embraced and engaged everyone rather than set him apart. He was sober and honest, commanded respect and from me, undying devotion. And I was a diehard Hillary follower. But I don't think anyone could do what needs to be done now to lead the salvation of our world except for him. Do I think he is a messiah? I think he has tapped into what is good in all of us and that he will surround himself with the right people who will ask the right questions. What I have seen in the past 24 hours is that this election is bringing out the best in everyone. I suspect that he will not solve all of our problems himself but he will give us the tools to let us work with each other to solve them together.
In an interview last week, Obama was asked what the top goals of his administration would be. And he responded 1. Stabilize our economy and take control of our finances and 2. Develop our energy independence. For someone who makes her living promoting the greening of our planet, these are words dear to me. Today my dreams of a carbon zero planet filled with plentiful natural resources don't seem that far fetched any more.
For the past year I have been traveling around the country giving my speech on "saving the world through sustainable preservation" and ending my talk with 3 slides that say "If you want to save our planet, and everything in it that we hold dear, then we all must work together to impact the political will." And last night we did that. We have huge mountains to scale to get ourselves out of this political and financial armageddon we find ourselves in, but with Barack Obama at the helm, most of us will be able to say "yes, we can."