Barack Obama, the Hope We Need Today

Let us wish the best for today’s inauguration and for the new US President elect, Barack Obama (especially for those who have not drunk the Obama Kool-Aid). If ever we need hope for a better future, today is the day.

Barack Obama

Given the crowds and the almost unending positive attention today has in the media, workplace, and general conversations, I think the change Obama has promised is already happening.

Expecations and Barack Obama

Tomorrow is the day when the 8 years of the second Bush administration finally comes to an end. The torture, elimination of civil rights and privacy, unfocused war on 2 fronts, banking and economic meltdown, increasing global climatic change, systematic elimination of ecological habitats, lack of international respect and pride, increase in reliance on imported oil and countless other products, increase in unemployment, explosion in debt, larger government than we have had in generations, and more disatrous social policies to name, will not be a quick or easy fix for the next administration.

Nevertheless, Barack Obama is more popular than any incoming president in years.

Moreover, there are almost impossibly high hopes for him to affect the very change he has promised.

Will Obama’s “Hope We Can Believe In” live up to expectations? Perhaps the question should instead be reveresed–how horrible if it cannot.

I wonder if the consensus is so dire that any improvement will be welcome, even if only a few minor steps? I wonder if things have gotten so bad that the American people will forgive Obama for taking longer on fixing the nation than we would with others, partly because he seems to be such a good person, partly because we have so far to climb, and partly because everything seems so broken that where else can we go but up?

This may be a singulalry unique political opportunity, one that we may not see again for some time. Whatever the case, my experience shows it is easier to get into debt than out of it, easier to put on weight than take it off, easier to become self-righteous and intollerant than to collaborate and focus on inclusion. I wonder if the same may be true for this large and complex country?

Barack, we do put our hope and trust in you. At this point, we are nearly out of any other options, and only hope it is not to late.

Then again, by the fact that I am freely writing and publishing this blog post, it seems hope may still be alive.

What Educators Can Learn from Barack Obama

barack obama

So, Barack Obama won the presidential election. While we will  undoubtedly speak about him in many ways in the times ahead, I am focusing on what we can learn from him right now.

So, what can we (or at least I) learn from Barack?

  1. The mantra “Yes We Can” is positive reinforcement. Decide something, and then keep plugging away at it until it is accomplished. Students are unsure of their abilities? Anxiety over a new teaching responsibility? Lessons challenged by people with different worldviews? Teach we shall – Yes We Can!
  2. Don’t let people tell you what you can do. If you believe you can be president, then work to make it real. Color or race are no longer barriers. There is nothing that cannot be done if you work hard enough. Yes, this is lofty and a stretch goal, but what worth accomplishing is not?
  3. The slogan “Change We Can Believe In” may be scary at times if there is a politics of fear, but it is also common sense. If what we are doing now does not work as we want it, then change. Not getting the grades? Do not understand something? Disagree with some framework? Change happens by changing methods and approaches—only we can fully change our own perspectives. And, this is not easy and it may leave us alone at times, but change is the only thing that helps us move forward.

I expect to think about this more in the weeks ahead, and am interested in what learning others may have around this . . .

Vote Attempt #1

I tried to vote this morning, but the line stretched for blocks and was hours long. I have never seen anything like it . . .

I would have stayed nevertheless, but I am responsible for setting up for a 9:00 meeting, so will go vote this afternoon. I am not voting from a sense of civic duty, but rather a frustration for how distraught we as a nation have become.

Why Liveblog Democrats and Republicans?

I love how the Times is liveblogging both the Democrat as well as the Republican races. Of course, being Super Tuesday with 24 states holding their primaries.

Without a central location or event or person, and with such a variety of dates and times and places and candidates, how is liveblogging of any value?

This is yet another example of an issue to bring to my Northern Voice presentation on liveblogging in two weeks.