Day 66: 29 January – CHANGE

Ok, i want to start off by saying i do not intend for this blog to have any political affiliations or ties. However there is a unavoidable relationship between politics, governments and activism. That means sometimes it is difficult to avoid a “political” conversation. So let me just say that any political views, opinions, or statements are my own and are not necessarily those of the other authors of 365 Days of Activism. Now that that is out of the way…

I have been thinking a great deal lately about change. I must say that i am thrilled that Obama is now the president of the United States. I think Obama being elected president is one of those milestones that my generation will be know for. Over the election campaigns the word “change” was cleverly linked with Obama. He is in fact “change” in many ways, shapes and forms and I do feel that he represents the “change we need”. I really believe in him as a leader and i have alot of faith in him! What i do not believe is that he is some magical being that will take away our problems, make everything “ok”, and bring happiness to America and the rest of the world. Though he may be a representative of change, and even a powerful catalyst, he himself will not solely be or bring the change we need. I watched a documentary called “Barack Obama: People’s President” on Tuesday night and as much as i enjoyed it there was one specific part that stood out to me. Several young voters were being asked about Obama, and one of his young female supporters said something along the lines of, “We cannot sit around and wait for Obama or the government to bring the change we need. We are responsible to bring that change ourselves.” This statement hit the nail on the head for me! As much as Obama is a representative of change WE as the people are responsible to bring mass change, and push for him and the government to stand by the change that they have promised. I think that true change comes when average people make small intentional decisions to bring change in their day to day life; this could be smiling at a stranger, donating to a charity, helping someone who is broke down on the side of the road, adopting a child, or as simple as switching off the lights when you are not using them.

I have noticed that certain people are already putting enormous amounts of pressure on Obama. He has been president for a little over a week and i hear people say things like, “Obama has been president for a week and gas prices are still going up.” I find this hilarious and frustrating. Whether a person is an Obama supporter or totally against him, we cannot afford to put too much responsibility on him. We have to trust him as a leader to have the best intentions of his country in mind, and trust him to do the things he says, but we also cannot be unrealistic (whether we are for or against him) and expect things to just magically change. We have to be agents of that change.

So since i am already writing a political post i just want to speak briefly about the South African political climate. They are labelling this up coming election as “the most important election since 1994”, and i believe it very well could be. I want to challenge all South Africans, and especially the young voters, to get out and register if you are not, and vote! Your last chance to register is the 7th & 8th of February. American just saw a record number of young voters, and groups of people that have never traditionally voted, come to the polls and vote. South Africans can follow this example, educate themselves about the candidates, and make an informed vote. Because whether we like it or not, the government lays the structure of the system in which we are fighting for change. But no matter the outcome of the South African election, and no matter what happens with Obama in America, you can count on the fact that i will do everything in my power to see much needed change brought to the lives and communities of people around me. I hope you will commit to do the same!

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