I’m going to cut right to the race. The idea of a woman or African-American as president is appealing to me. But if Condolezza Rice was running for president, I’d pass on the best of both worlds. Hilary Clinton’s candidacy represents a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton regime. A hybrid monarchy, rooted in nepotism, that I’d rather not see perpetuate and further tarnish the already scarred history of a nation built on the backs of slaves.

Maybe they should have a law stating that presidents should be picked girl—boy—girl—boy—girl—boy? Or, one year the president should be 11 years old and the next year 65 years old?

Regardless of my day dreaming, Obama stirs a feeling no other candidate has that I remember in my short-time living. I don’t agree with all of Obama’s views and policies; however, I feel a spark of purpose in his life and timeliness. The fact he has exposure living and growing up in parts of the world, other than the United States, makes him a candidate the world can embrace. The potential of Obama to unite people across not only political lines, but religious divide is unmatched by any of our current presidential candidates. His expressed willingness to dialogue, even with some of the most ostracized world leaders, makes him an individual who could bring increased global security that does not rely upon militaries; fostering understanding and mutual respect through dialogue, humbleness and diplomacy.

But Barack Obama is not nearly enough. Inspiring, yes; answer to all of the U.S. and world problems-not so much. A step in the right direction, maybe; but this is about more than just a president.

No president alone will be able to save the drowning waters of the polluted sea. McCain, Clinton, and Obama all represent a two-party system that consistently silences diverse perspectives and limits the capacity of those, who are not democrat or republican, to create change. The two-party system that exists in the U.S. precludes the political voice and will of millions of its citizens. There must be a reason, in addition to apathy, that still over 50% of those eligible to vote in the U.S. never make it to the polls.

None of the candidates are speaking about the demilitarization of the world. About the essential need of our careful disposal of the world nuclear weapons stockpile. None of them have addressed how we shall counteract the institutionalized racism that has allowed the number of people in U.S. prisons to climb and reach over 2.3 million. “A Black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime; about 580,000 Black males are serving sentences in state or federal prison, while fewer than 40,000 Black males earn a bachelor’s degree each year; and in 2004, 2,825 children and teens died from firearms in the U.S.-that’s more than the number of American combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of 2006.” (America’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline 2007 Report, Children’s Defense Fund). We are in a civil war right here in the U.S.!

None of the candidates have yet spoken about how we can divert huge global catastrophe by radically shifting energy consumption and consumerism. None of them have addressed how the nation’s schools are systematically fueling violence through outdated and irrelevant teaching methods and curriculum. And I am still waiting for the day I hear a presidential candidate, at the end of a speech say, “God Bless the World!”

Nonetheless, I hope, and on quiet nights pray, that for every Osama there must be an Obama; a counter weight; a balancing of the scales; the love that hate produced. But, more important than Obama, or whoever the next president of the U.S. turns out to be is YOU. Where is your heart? What are you doing? The danger in a magnetic personality such as Barack Obama as president is that masses will tend to diffuse responsibility to him for making the changes in our society that are so sorely needed. Obama will be inheriting a Royal Bush-mess. The people of the U.S., the ones electing him into office, will set him (or any other candidate) up for failure if we do not transform our penchant for materialism and placing American interests ahead of the Earth’s.

Out of the current realistic choices available, I believe making Obama president is a step in the right direction, but it is not nearly enough. We have to step with him and ahead of him. This is much more than stepping to the voting booth and casting your ballot. That’s the simple way out. We can’t live our lives behind curtains anymore; casting votes in private. We have to seriously work everyday to change our communities so that they are healthy, nurturing and positive places for all people, regardless of who the president is.

Most importantly, as recently observed, we need to come together as a species, and unite to aid the millions of people who are being displaced and lost through earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, and disease. As long as governments continue to prioritize funding the building of a bomb over digging someone out who has been buried in a landslide, we are in for a dismal future.

Everyone needs to do something. The president of the U.S. would play a more passive role in society if citizens were actually doing their jobs and looking out for one another. This election is about much more than just a president, it’s about our very hearts and souls.

It is not enough to think, ‘Okay, I’ll do my part and vote this year for who will be our elected representatives.’ Instead, we have to become mindful that we vote everyday, perhaps even with greater impact, by where we spend our money. What we buy and which company is producing it. We vote everyday by the seat we choose to give to the stranger on the bus, walking or riding our bicycle instead of taking our car, or, the child that we spend time with and do, or do not love. We vote everyday… simply by opening our mouths. By fearlessly addressing injustice when confronted by it; by laughing, smiling, and spreading joy to others, even those who have caused us pain.

The true change, is taking responsibility. Not a representative democracy but a direct engagement and transformation of the system that is rooted in our conscious evolution. Because this is bigger than any president… this is bigger than any of us.

Traveling the world-in less than 7 years over 23 countries-sparked a commitment in HAWAH to empower those less materially privileged. In 1999, working as an Americorps community organizer and mentor in Washington DC’s most under-resourced neighborhood, he encouraged youth to explore the roots of oppression. After graduating from American Univ. with a degree in Peace and Educational Philosophy, he was awarded a fellowship with the RFK Foundation to work as a special rep. to the U.N. and the World Conference Against Racism. HAWAH is co-founder/ executive director of One Common Unity, a non-profit org. that nurtures sustainable communities through innovative peace education, arts, and media. For 3 years he directed the Peaceable Schools Program in DC’s largest high school-specifically leading Alternatives to Violence, Positive Stretch, Deep Breathing & Yoga classes. A spoken word poet known as EVERLUTIONARY, HAWAH has authored 3 books: Trails: Trust Before Suspicion (2001), Escape Extinction (2003) and zerONEss (2006). His work can be further explored at http://www.everlutionary.net

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