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Taken from myspace - spearheadvibrations (Jan 23, 2009)

Pre Inauguration thoughts by Michael Franti

It’s impossible to express my feelings about Barack Obama without first the perspective of the past eight years. Wars (that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands), economic disaster, domestic emergency failure, a toxic environmental policy, exacerbated middle east violence, all while Americans pleaded for a better way.

During my travels in Iraq, Israel, Gaza, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Europe and all over the States, I have seen and heard the voices of people who want change. They want an end to the violence, the stabilization of our economy, education and healthcare for all, renewable energy and an environmental vision with an eye on generations to come.

This is why on the eve of Election Day I curled up in bed with my nine year old son and cried as I read a children’s biography on our President-elect. I explained that over the last eight years there were times (particularly when I was in the Middle East) that I felt so much pain in my heart and so bleak about the future. I told him how in my lifetime, I never imagined I would be voting for a black man, let alone someone with as much charisma and dynamism as Barack Obama. I cried as my pen hit the paper of my ballot.

Our future President ran not as a "lefty peacenik", but as a bipartisan candidate willing to compromise for the greater good rather than drown in idealism. This will no doubt lead to cries of hypocrisy, cynicism and sellout, as the months and years, pass by those who have pinned their personal hopes to his lapel like a three dollar American flag pin.

He may disappoint you at times, I am certain he will disappoint me, but that is what happens when you work in a collaborative setting like Washington. This does not mean that you should not get mad when you are disappointed. On the contrary, get fired up, speak out, organize and be heard!

The onus is on all of US who really care, to not just hold him to his promises, but to help him to achieve them.

He may not become all the best attributes of every president rolled into one, but at a time when we need it the most he has offered us the light, the glimmer, the hope, the opportunity, that things could get even a little bit better (hell, a lot better!). It’s up to all 6 billion of us on this planet to seize this opportunity and to do everything we can do to make it real.

Stay tuned for a post-inauguration blog coming soon!


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