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Pardes Yehuda: Change

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Votes have been tallied, results are in, the people have spoken and history was made. America wants change.

The enormousness of what we have just witnessed, the election of a black man as the President of these United States, cannot be underestimated. My fiance expressed something incredible last night as we watched President-elect Obama address the world; he was positive, he did not resort to fear-mongering--change has truly blessed our nation.

We have been stifled for years in the fear and the threats, in the warring and the unilateralism. Now we have the prospect for a different future. We have been worn down by militarism and exclusivism, and now we hope for a different future. All the fear, all the threats, all the extremism has numbed our populace, and we are now rubbing our eyes and awaking form the slumber that has entrenched us in apathy and complacency. But, as a nation, we joined together and said "enough is enough." We decided to vote for change.

The future only knows how history will judge George Bush's rule in office. But it is clear that now we have expressed that whatever mandate he believed he once had, and those who think governance in his form is a virtue, that mandate has been revoked. A new mandate has been issued by the American people, and even the world, a new mandate to seek understanding and dialogue. A new mandate to rely on hope, rather than fear. A new mandate to go into the world with pride, and not with hubris.

Individuals may disagree, politically, with Obama's election, but we all need to stand together and honor and recognize the greatness, and the importance, of the moment. History was made November 4, 2008. America stepped out of the closet of its past and into the wide-open field of its future.

In the Jewish tradition, the ability to repent, in Hebrew to make "t'shuva", is sacrosanct. It is believed that every person, no matter how wicked or misguided, has the ability to repent, to return to a more balanced and upright life. Our nation has made a major step towards collective repetence. When the United States acknowledged that freed slaves deserved compensation, they were promised forty acres and a mule. That compensation was never awarded. When descendents of slaves in America stood up to begin the conversation about reparations, few took those conversations seriously. Mr. Barack Obama has gotten his forty acres and mule, and in achieving the unthinkable, he has symbolically received forty acres and a mule for all of black America.

We all have reason to be proud, irrelevant of politics, at the shear enormousness of the historicity of the event. But the black community in America has all the more reason to elate right now. An office once thought reserved only for the powerful, rich and white is now going to be occupied by a black man, with diverse upbringing, who until four years ago was virtually unknown to anyone outside his immediate surroundings. Now, he is a household name worldwide.

The world will surely look upon our nation with new, bright eyes. Eyes filled with hope for the prospects of progress and togetherness. The world looks to America now and sees a nation that is possibly beginning to right its wrongs. The world looks to America now and sees a nation that stood up and has demanded change.

Let's deliver.

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