Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Be the change...

It's official. The era of the Bush Administration has passed and, in a moving ceremony Tuesday, Barak Obama has been inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. But what's next? From where will this "change we can believe in" come? Are we to sit back now, waiting and hoping that the Obama Administration will implement the necessary policies to make us once again a leader of hope and peace both at home and abroad? Absolutely not!

Regardless of the leader, a democratic president is impotent without the power of the people, both demanding and living the change we want to see. If we want things to change, we have to BE that change; we have to LIVE that change. Obama CANNOT do it, if we ourselves do not do it. It starts with you and with me. It starts in our hearts, our  minds, and in our homes. 

There are so many things that need to be done. There are wars to end and peace to pursue. The environment suffers as we continue to consume it recklessly. The evening news announces layoffs each and every night. Food costs more. Health care costs stop many from the care they so desperately need. Gas prices are again on the rise. And every last one of us is holding on to our pocketbook just a little bit tighter. When did we lose control? How do we get it back? 

The truth of the matter is that although there are some things out of our control, we still have the power to make choices that make a far-reaching impact on our lives; changes each and everyone of us can make - reducing consumption, conserving resources, and mindfully pursuing necessary purchases through local producers. No politician will say it, but the truth is we CAN, we MUST cut back. We need to rethink the way we live and the way we consume. 

Don't wait for the Obama Administration to save us from our dependency on foreign oil. Leave you car in the garage and bike or walk some of your errands. Quit buying produce shipped from New Zealand. Carpool. 

Don't wait for the Obama Administration to clean up our environment. Quit using plastic bags and carry your own reusable ones. Buy organic produce to keep pesticides out of our food, soil, and water supply. Refuse to buy anything in a package that can't be reused or recycled. Install low flow aerators and shower heads. 

Don't wait for the Obama Administration to reenergize our food policy. As much as we'd like Michael Pollan to be our next Secretary of Agriculture, it's not going to happen. So plant your own garden, even if it's just a few herbs. Quit eating at fast food chains. Stock your fridge with whole (non-processed) foods. Visit your local farmers market and support the people who are making a difference right now! 

Don't wait for the Obama Administration to fix our economy. Relief won't come in government bailouts and refund checks. Reclaim control of your finances. Kill the expensive gym membership and take a daily walk instead. Cancel the cable (is there really anything on anyway?) and quit "hanging out" at the mall. Visit a farm, a park, or the library. Play games with your kids, build a snowman, and teach them to cook cookies from scratch. Think before you buy. Don't buy something new if you can repair it or buy it used. And for heavens sake, don't buy something just because it's "green." WE DON'T NEED ALL THIS STUFF!

Don't wait for the Obama Administration to hand us "change we can believe in" on a silver platter. WE are the change. Let's do it!

24 comments:

Emily said...

Precisely. Exactly what I've been saying. True, Obama has some power, but he cannot follow through on his promises without the American people making a real change and stepping up to the plate.

Thank you for putting this so eloquently.

ttammylynn said...

Yes, I just wish that instead of spending 16 million dollars on his inauguration party(Clinton spent 32 million, Bush spent 42 million) that he could have cut back and implemented some of the changes that America needs...oh well, with bail out money already allocated to him in the billions, we'll just see how far in debt we get bailing out America that won't cut back. It is a sick state of affairs. So far, I believe in Palin, she became governor of Alaska, fired the cook and cooked herself...made the oil companies give back to the people of Alaska and sold the governor's plane to fly like anybody else would if they needed to go somewhere, a commercial airline.
With the Democrats almost completely controlling the House and Senate, Obama should be held responsible. So far, I am just a little disappointed that the Organic associations reccommendations have been ignored by the new Obama administration in its appointments. He appointed instead the GMO loving lobbyist favorites, great.
If Obama would cut back and make sense like the people who must live inside of their own budget(plant a garden, help real people--donate his time and energy to good causes), I would really appreciate that, but so far, he looks like an elitest who spends as much as he can to get a vote and worship himself. So far, America foots the bill.

Vickie said...

I agree we have to make changes for ourselves and our families. In the past year we have already cut back the gym membership is gone and I heard a lot of grieve from the older kids about this but hey you have a basketball goal in the driveway and all kinds of exercise equipment here. I bought a clothesline last year and have been putting that to use instead of the dryer most of the time and again a lot of grieve from the older kids but hey who pays the bills. We don't order pizza anymore we make our own and that is one thing that all the kids love and can't wait for... homemade pizza. I don't do the car pooling to 2 or 3 different schools anymore they ride the bus. I don't buy those convenient frozen waffles or pancakes I make up large batches and make enough to last about 3 or 4 days. NO more muffin mixes I do them from scratch. I can go on and on with all the little changes we have made for our family in the past year but it's these little changes that has helped to keep us from struggling from day to day. We have to help ourselves first it doesn't matter if we get an extra check because if we don't change our way of living that check wouldn't really matter in the end it would be spend uselessly on in the end important things. Take Care :)

Heather @ SGF said...

Emily - Exactly. We can't wait for the leader to lead. We have to take responsibility ourselves.

Tammy - Well, it's too early to tell really. I guess we'll see. I don't agree with all the choices he's made so far, but I still have no doubt he was the best for the job. In the end though, it's up to us to make a difference.

Vickie - Good for you! Wow, you've really made some big changes. Starting to make everything from scratch was a big one for us too. But everything tastes so much better that way doesn't it?

Michelle said...

Amen.

Beany said...

Wow ttammylyn those are some expensive parties.

This was an excellent post Heather. I agree that if we want something different to happen, we need to implement it ourselves.

GreenieJoy said...

Great post! And great comments. I agree with Heather that Obama is the best man for the job. But like the post says its up to us to make these changes happen but it seems like Obama is willing to back us up. He believes that us citizens need to get up off the couch and start making a difference which is a refreshing change. He realizes that that he alone cannot make a difference and that us citizens have are the ones that can.

Kudos to a great post

debra (blondeoverboard) said...

emotionalty and historical significance of the occasion aside, the thing that i heard in his speech that i liked was the call for sacrifice. for "fun" last night i listened to the conservative radio station. caller after caller ranted and raved about his "intentional" mis-stating of the Oath of Office or of how they were "scared nutless" (how eloquent) of the man and his "socialistic-commie" plans for the country. they have all missed the fact that he is just a man with limited powers. he is not a messianic figure nor is he satan incarnate. what we need to remember is that, as michelle pointed out on www.greenphonebooth.com, "they" cannot change the direction of the nation. "they" cannot fix what is wrong and the time has come to stop relying on "them" and start relying on "us" and "we". if he accomplishes nothing more in his presidency, he has moved a people, shown them that the power belongs in the hands of the people and has illustrated what a people can do, what a democracy is capable of when it is motivated to action. it's more than has been done for us the last 8 years.

Theresa said...

Nicely said! We are certainly all in this together!

Green Bean said...

Hear, hear!!! I agree wholeheartedly. Obama's inauguration is not the end of our work, it is the beginning. Fantastic post!

ttammylynn said...

We can all cut back a bit further, true enough. I just hope that Obama and every other elected official, for that matter, cuts the fat out of politics and gets the American economy healthy.
It also occurs to me that no one was afraid to hold George W responsible for everything that happened to the country in spite of a Democrat ruled House and Senate, so all the talk about not holding Obama responsible seems a touch bit lame.
I love America. I am saddened by the state of affairs in America. I try to change myself, to conserve, but it seems like a moot point when someone throws a 16 million dollar party and asks others to suck it up right now. I think of Marie Antoinettes's, "let them eat cake"...

livingmyrichlife said...

Hear hear. While I think he has a great vision for the future it is going to be up to the people to make it happen.

Heather @ SGF said...

Tammy - I agree it's hard to look at all that money spent (economic slump or not) for a party. And we certainly can and should voice our disapproval. But you also mention that you feel like personally cutting back is a "moot point" in light of such excess. This is the attitude that Thomas Friedman took in that review I did last week. That because of the way China and India are growing, the little things we "green" people do at home are negated in seconds. Reality is what it is, but it shouldn't stop us from doing the right thing. We have a responsibility and have to answer for our own actions. We have to be the example. We have to be the drive if change is to occur...

Everyone - These are all GREAT comments! Thanks and keep them coming!...

Tammy said...

It is up to us to make this happen. Our small voices united toward a cause. I believe in miracles. Oh dang, I goofed terribly bad. He spent 160 million, not 16 million. No he spent almost 4X Bush. I am so sorry. Now you see I don't make sense..I've been so sick the past week. Forgive my mistake, perhaps my attitude makes more sense now.
No, I hope the best for Obama and America. I hope to live here the rest of my life and pass a legacy of love of this country on to my children and grandchildren.

sunflowerchilde said...

Really wonderful post, I found it incredibly inspiring. Thank you!

Dave said...

To correct some numbers:

Parties:
Bush: 42 million
Obama: 45 million

Security/Cleanup:
Bush: 115.5 million
Obama: estimated around 115 million

Emily said...

Well, it's understandable that they needed more security and clean-up with Obama's inauguration... With a crowd like that, you're going to need to spend more! :)

timeus said...

Heather, timeus thinks your original post might even be better than the speech Rocky gives after defeating Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

Good job! You've certainly been a positive influence on timeus.

Anonymous said...

I read your post on the McDougalling in Chili blog and came over to your site only to find that you like DiIorios as much as I do. It is nice to know that there is someone in the vacinity somewhat McDougalling also. I will enjoy reading your posts.

Heather @ SGF said...

Tammy - hope you are feeling better...

Timeus - better than Rocky! Sweet! I'm moving up in the world...

Anonymous - Welcome! I don't talk much about McDougalling here since I concentrate more on eating locally (which for others includes meat and dairy), but if you look at my recipes, I'm vegan. If you're ever in the BCS area, send me an email. Maybe we can get together.

Tammy said...

http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/obama_inaugural_costs/2009/01/15/171744.html?s=al&promo_code=77C1-1
I was quoting this article. I guess it includes private parties. I don't fully know about clean up, but I am curious about your source, Dave.
Thanks,
Tammy

Dave said...

Tammy - All over the place, I read a lot. It looks like somebody ended up comparing the wrong numbers and that has been repeated over and over. It is obviously more salacious to talk about this inauguration being four times more expensive. Anyways, here is a couple of articles that past my way with a few quotes that I think explain things.

Article from 2005 discussion of Bush's inauguration:

"The $40 million does not include the cost of a web of security, including everything from 7,000 troops to volunteer police officers from far away, to some of the most sophisticated detection and protection equipment."

Link

NY Times article on the costs:

"The $24 million puts Mr. Obama more than halfway toward the goal of raising $40 million to $45 million for what could be the most expensive inauguration ever, topping the $42.3 million that President Bush spent in 2005."

"In 2005, Mr. Bush raised $42.3 million from about 15,000 donors for festivities; the federal government and the District of Columbia spent a combined $115.5 million, most of it for security, the swearing-in ceremony, cleanup and for a holiday for federal workers."

Link

Chile said...

Taking these steps in our own lives is also empowering. We are not victims at the whim of whatever politician is currently in power. Yes, they do have a huge influence, but we still control many of our own decisions. Good post, Heather!

I am disappointed in the lack of change that seems to be coming from the new administration, but I'm not surprised. I spent a year in D.C. working on "the hill" when I was younger and idealistic. I came home jaded about how difficult it was to create change in that environment.

Heather @ SGF said...

Chile - We have so much power as individuals, and yet it's so hard to motivate people towards change. I don't know if it's because we're all so busy or things aren't bad enough yet.

But like with my local diet experiment. I was unhappy with the crap they sell in the grocery stores so I started buying local produce from farmers I trust. Sure, little ole me can't make a huge difference, but I know I'm not the only one that hates what's happening to our food. If we all put our food dollars where our mouths are, we can shape policy. Thankfully, it's starting to catch on. I think we're on the cusp of something amazing. I hope, anyway...