Ah, if only it were this easy...
I snapped this photo on my cell phone at the laundromat this past weekend. When I bent down to get my quarters out of the machine, I looked up and immediately saw in bold, all-caps lettering, the word that had defined a presidential election — change.
Many people, especially Obama supporters, can't wait to see George W. Bush's last Uhaul leave the White House. But change can't come in hours, days, months or even years. Sure, a new administration can bring with it new ideas and promises, but without the cooperation of Congress and the American people, change can't happen. Even the best intentions to effect change in Washington will not happen over night, and it certainly will not happen without unity among Americans.
You'd be hard-pressed to find many people left in America who think our country is headed in the right direction. That's not to say you are not patriotic and that you don't think America still offers the best opportunities in the world — otherwise, so many people wouldn't come here seeking education, jobs and that metaphor of the American dream. So regardless of who you voted for just one week ago, it's time to end the division and the remnants of hatred left in the U.S. We must unite as one people and show the world that our economy will lead the way into the rest of the 21st century and that our people are fearless, resilient and tolerant.
We have just witnessed the closing of a dark chapter in American history. The stories of slavery and the battles for civil rights have been fully realized and have proved to have a happy ending with the U.S.' first black president. But the story of a black man in the White House should not be what we remember about the next four years. We should remember a country that sees no race, that respects all God's people, and that put aside its political, religious and cultural differences to rise up and restore America's image to the rest of the Earth, showcasing what we know to be our country's best qualities to the rest of the world.
Change can come, but it won't be because of one man. It won't be because of one political party. And it won't come because of division and bickering. It will come because Americans do not settle for anything less than the best. History tells us this, and history should tell our grandchildren the same.