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The work begins

The magic is back.

For me, the election of Barack Obama brings forth a mosaic of intense personal feelings; the first a vibrant flashback to being a college student politically awakened to the magic of Camelot and President John Kennedy’s eloquent call to service during the idealistic and turbulent ’60s.

Woven into this image is my enormous adult pride that we, as a country, have finally broke through historical barriers and actually elected a person of color to our highest office in 2008.

But most vivid is a visceral awareness of the healing process beginning deep within my own body as the gray and depressive smog-like environment choking the political and social air of the Bush years begins to lift.

Just a short time after Election Day and it is already easier to breathe, easier to see, easier to hope, and easier to envision participating in the life of the collective.

It is no coincidence that the beginning of my cellular healing coincides with the emergence of our country’s racial value healing. The health of the whole can be no greater than the health of each part of the society.

The potential of harnessing the power of healthy personal and societal energies is mind boggling and limitless. But this process will take determined and innovative work for the magic of hope to manifest as action.

The right thing has happened in our country and Barack Obama’s election is a concrete marker of a critical beginning. But, as he said so eloquently in his Grant Park address, the result of this election is not itself the change needed.

We must work hard to take advantage of this open door to make real change permanent.

In my lifetime, I have known the power generated by the words of JFK, MLK, RFK, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton and have seen how each dream stopped short of institutionalized effectiveness. I lived the charisma of the New Left and civil rights activism and know that identifying the next right action is vital but not sufficient.

Structures have to be built and tweaked and there has to be constant vigilance to make sure desired outcomes are being achieved for everyone in the society.

Perhaps the personal and global survival stakes of my youth were just not high enough to complete this noble task. But they certainly are now and we are blessed to be given another chance to do that elusive “it” thing right.

It is a good day to be alive. The magic is back. … but we still have work to do.

Judy Shepps Battle
Kendall Park, NJ

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