Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rise of the new America

Like the mythic phoenix rising from its own ashes, I feel like America is once again reborn. The rise of the new America comes from a feeling that the political landscape is shifting again. The lessons learnt from previous generations are there for us, but this president and our generation are not encumbered by their hang-ups and generational perceptions that have shaped and sometimes shaded political opinion.

Part of this stems from the fact that what it means to be an American and what an American looks like is truly being redefined. The First family is a tangible example of this, but it goes beyond simply black and white. Today's has an interesting article "Latinos fight for political recognition" by Gebe Martinez.

In the article Martinez reminds us that Latinos voted 10million strong in the November 2008 presidential election and more importantly, they represent significant populations in key states like Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and California. Martinez points out that "there remains a gap between the power they (Latinos) have earned and the Washington elite's perception of their power." This provides the newly sworn in President (and his party) the opportunity to reach out and work more closely with this important constituency to help empower them. Closing this gap of perceptions is important, because perception can be misconstrued as reality if not called out.

It probably will not be long before we swear in our first Latino president and when that day comes - it will be just as moving because we will have redefined (yet again) what the office of President means and how people relate to that position of power. Obama's swearing in really does signify a dawning of a new day. I hope that we can harness this energy and enthusiasm to continue to engage all Americans and welcome them into the political process. Apathy serves nobody in a democracy.

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