As momentum builds around the 2009 inauguration, more people are paying attention to the decisions of President-elect Barack Obama with a critical eye.
However that eye must also be on the change within ourselves, many Baton Rouge voters said.
With headlines across the nation boasting ‘Yes We Did’ and ‘Change Has Come’ more private citizens are proudly taking note of policy issues that they anticipate changing with the new Obama-Biden administration.
But many pundits and political scientists argue that the change will have to be made on personal and community levels as did the community organizing, grassroots campaigning of the Obama team. Even comedian Sheryl Underwood has commented on the individual change that is now required for a true national change.
“If (Obama) is going to be successful, we have to get out there and change ourselves and help this President,” she said.
As the new administration takes shape, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden continue encourage Americans to keep working for change. Their official website urges Americans “from every walk of life to serve” and has begun laying the foundations to expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps. According to the site, Obama will create new service organizations “to meet the nation’s challenges head on”.
Obama and Biden will call on citizens of all ages to serve on a Classroom Corps to help underserved schools and a Health Corps to serve in the nation’s clinics and hospitals. They will set a goal that all middle school and high school students engage in 50 hours of community service a year, and develop a plan for all college students who engage in 100 hours of community service to receive a fully-refundable tax credit of $4,000 for their education.
They will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start. They will also establish a Clean Energy Corps to achieve the goal of energy independence and a Veterans Corps to support the Americans who serve.
In fact the Obama/Biden transition is constant at giving an opportunity for citizens to affect change in government. The official website of the president-elect urges visitors to share ideas: “We’re counting on citizens from every walk of life to get involved. Share your experiences and your ideas — tell us what you’d like the Obama-Biden administration to do and where you’d like the country to go.”
The change.gov website presents the new administrations policy as a “Blueprint” which the team presented on the campaign trail. To understand what steps we can take to make change a reality we need to review the Blueprint and make decisions on what to do and when in order to support Obama, said one volunteer campaign worker.
“Perhaps with our own personal and intentional changes to improve our communities, our schools and our families, we will see America change,” said Eddie Ponds, The Drum publisher. “It should not be because of Barack Obama’s presidency, but only during his presidency.”