I recently received an email from the Obama transition team. Yes, it requested a contribution, but it also included an invitation to comment on the potential meanings of the upcoming inauguration. I had a few that seemed worth sharing.
As long been touted, the swearing in of President Barack Obama will mark a major day of change. For some it will be the first day of unadulterated political sunshine for many years. Even for many who did not support his election, there is a feeling of hope that this can be a dawn of a better day.
For me, I think it is time for a motto change, morphing from a statement of hope -- YES WE CAN -- to a call for action: NOW WE CAN.
From its beginnings around the time of Obama's Springfield, Illinois announcement for president, YES WE CAN has stood for the hope that our voting power could be used to move the country in a more positive direction.
While more than one-hundred thousand people heralded that accomplishment in Chicago's Grant Park with tear-filled chants of YES WE DID, there was one notable exception from that choir: President Elect Obama. He realized that just as a famous "Mission Accomplished" from the previous administration only marked a beginning rather than an end: the job of change only started on Election Day.
Perhaps America's most famous inaugural moment was when John Fitzgerald Kennedy made a call to arms, urging us to come together and find what we could do for our country. As our next President often proclaimed, his campaign was not about him but us. Now that our efforts, our voices and our votes have created this opportunity, is the time for all of us to rise up and do the work to create the changes we have longed for.
NOW WE CAN again invest in our best and our brightest and return to being the global leaders in science and technological advances.
NOW WE CAN be rewarded for our intellect, working to improve our schools and educational standards so that our tomorrows can be that much better than today.
NOW WE CAN and must show respect for humanity, even in times of war, by again being the leaders in the precepts of the Geneva Convention.
NOW WE CAN and must demand better ethical standards from our bankers, financial advisors, corporate and political leaders.
NOW WE CAN and must incorporate real diplomatic measures to try to make lasting peace in our world's most troubled places.
NOW WE CAN each do what we can to extend the life of the world of which we live in, be it as simple as recycling, reducing our energy use, or finding alternative means of energy.
NOW WE CAN and must fulfill the promise our forefathers made to our citizens, with an America that recognizes how all men -- and women -- are created equal and deserving of the inalienable rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness memorialized centuries ago.
NOW WE CAN and must recognize that winning and losing must be left to the playing fields and game boards. Be it in business or war, the only lasting wins take place when all sides are bettered, and that our economic and military interests will be best served with the implementation of policies that serve more than those already empowered.
NOW WE CAN: three words that can and should stand as a motto for all of us. A President can lead us, can encourage us, can speak for us. But now is the time for all of us to consider what we can do - what each one of us can do - to make our house, our street, our town, our country and our world a better place to be.
Because NOW WE CAN.