Monday, November 10, 2008

Beyond black and white...

Yes We Did! That's what I wrote on my Facebook wall. The elation felt overseas totally resonates with America's heartfelt joy.

I had a comment from my brother (who, it turns out, is a rather right-wing Republican) asking me, "What is this 'we' crap there froggy????" I guess he doesn't realize that A.) I am (still) an American, B.) I (still) vote by absentee ballot, and C.) That vote (still) counts.

I spent this weekend in the company of groups of Americans here in Paris and the keywords mentioned were "hope" and "change". More than one person said they wore an American flag on November 5th, pointing out that they hadn't felt "comfortable" doing that during the past eight years.

I had lunch with Alice and a Japanese friend on November 5th. While getting dressed, I dug out my Swarovski heart-shaped American flag pin and proudly wore it, something I didn't feel I could do for so long! Americans in America may not understand what we expats have been feeling, and it is hard to explain. We are not the "other" Americans. We are, to quote Phyllis Michaux, "The Unknown Ambassadors".

I think the world has high expectations for Mr. Obama. I think he is in for the challenge of this century to turn America around. Saying that, I also feel that his acceptance speech laid down the gauntlet for America to pick up. It reminded me a lot of John F. Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" speech. He spoke of the 106-year-old woman and the changes and progress she saw in her lifetime and tied it in nicely with the question, what will our children witness in their lifetime?

I think of my son. He was three years old when he first sat at a computer. He started with the C:\ prompt to play his games. At 17, he is now light years ahead of me. There are things we can't even imagine that are already on the horizon... I keep singing the Jetson's theme song with some of the projects I am working on now. (I can sync my sneakers to the Nike site to see how many miles I will be walking!... and that makes me feel like Agent 99!)

My point is, it will take more than Obama to make the change. We need to make it with him. We, the people, need to get our hands dirty and dig in. We need to give back. We need to turn it around and we need to do it now. Here's a great video. Alice's daughter (thanks Cat!) posted it on Facebook. Watch it, then share it with your kid. Heck, share it with everyone you know!

The future is now...

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