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The theme of today – and for the year so far – is change.
You hear it everywhere. The public seems hungry – almost desperate – for it.
And new President Barack Obama has promised it.
Tuesday was a day of change, with Obama’s inauguration and his remarks, when he focused on “hope over fear, unity and purpose over discord….”
He talked of this being the time to “set aside childish things” and to “carry forward that precious gift” that “we all are equal.”
Though Mr. Obama didn’t exactly mean it this way, he might have added that we also should all be equal to the task of tackling change.
For change isn’t the sole responsibility of Mr. Obama, his cabinet, lieutenants, any other elected officials or even Michelle Obama.
Change is the shared burden for all of us, and our duty to that process should not be ignored.
The sort of change that brought Mr. Obama to office and installed him as the icon of a new world was not brought about by one individual or even a team of individuals, though some of each deserve to share in the credit for his rise.
But the true fulcrum of his success came from an individual commitment to change.
This is a case where “I” and “you” become parts of “team.” This is where the next step starts with each of us creating motion, not following the motion of others.
With so many issues to be handled – the economy, terrorism and war, healthcare, education, global warming or anything you want to name – each of us has to contribute above and beyond lip service and paying our taxes appropriately and on time.
So when you wake up each morning and look at your day, your mission must itself change: You must set your priorities to affect change in your world.
You will hear a lot more about this personal commitment. A new coalition of national and international entertainers is trying to reinforce this message. They even went on Oprah to promote it.
They realize Mr. Obama can’t bear this mantle alone, and they are using their significant celebrity to reach among the masses to challenge us, especially young people, to help with this process.
So how precisely can you help with change?
You can help each other, providing for the needs of those who need help, contributing your time and energy, even if you can’t afford to contribute financially.
You can save resources by conserving energy and recycling more aggressively.
You can push local leaders to change your neighborhoods to align themselves with the greater need of humanity.
You can be an evangelist for change everywhere.
These may seem small, but when 300 million of us each make the same commitment, the mass impact could be astonishing.
These first 100 days of Mr. Obama’s presidency will be crucial for implementing his ideas and polices and – thus – affecting change.
We may not – and don’t necessarily have to – agree on the quality and appropriateness of his ideas. But we must each embrace his message.
For the good of our country, our state and our county, we must implement change, and we must start today.