By Cheryl Mahoney
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I don’t know what country you might be in as you read this. Here in America, January 20th, Inauguration Day, has arrived. Political opinions vary, but just about everyone can agree that it’s a historic event–the swearing-in of the first African-American president. In recognition of that, I thought I’d offer a few words on social change from our soon-to-be 44th president, Barack Obama.
“You know, there’s a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit – the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us – the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this – when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers – it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.”
–Barack Obama, speech, Aug. 11, 2006
“We have a stake in one another … what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and … if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done for the people with whom we share this Earth.”
–Barack Obama, speech, Dec. 1, 2006
“Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have courage to remake the world as it should be.”
–Barack Obama, speech, Jan. 3, 2008
That’s what we’re all about, right? Regardless of political party, even regardless of nationality. These are universal values: hope, and helping, and coming together to remake the world, each in our own small (or large) way, a little bit at a time.