–dreams of racial equality and justice for all–are somewhat realized with the aid of web 2.0 tools.
In two days, the USA begins the term of our first president of color–our first president in some time who seems to have that other quality–character (If you don’t believe me, read his first autobiography, and tell me your problem with his ethos). To a certain extent (certainly financially), his campaign’s mastery of the read/write web and social networking led to his victory in November 2008.
And tomorrow, because Barack Obama’s wired campaign has inspired me to do so, I will join with millions of Americans in serving our community in large and small ways. It’s called USA Service, and coast-to-coast on 19 January 2009 it aims to make Dr. King’s dream a little more real. The photo at upper right is where tomorrow, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I shall provide tutorial services to youth in Chicago’s 2nd Ward who are writing college application letters and essays. In the spirit of the day I will do my best to help students present their best selves on paper–a color-blind medium (like blogs?) where their character will shine through.
And I admit it: but for our social networker in chief [community organizer indeed!], I would most likely not have chosen to go down to the west side of Chicago on my day off. To be sure, I would have treated people in a color-blind manner, but I would have lived out a benign American dream in relative ease, in my suburb. It is the wired campaign–now post-election movement–of Obama that has me going where the need is.
I hope that as president BO continues to call upon the “better angels” of the American spirit for sacrifice. Doing so, we’ll turn the economy around that much quicker, and I believe we could see a rebirth of positive social spirit. Once people see how service is ennobling to giver and receiver both, they will respond when Barack claims, “We are one people. We are one nation; and together we will begin the next great chapter in America‘s story.”
POST SCRIPT, post-event: as at other Barack Obama events (e.g., local, “organic” canvassing efforts in the primaries), there was a surplus of volunteers at today’s. In the two hours I could stay, there might have been twenty volunteer tutors for each Chicago high school student.
Remarkably, just a week prior, none of these volunteers had scheduled being there. And yet each one of these American citizens–of all ages, races, and backgrounds–were persuaded through their web 2.0 social network to offer service. Such politics did not exist ten years ago.
The corollaries? 1. There is a whole lot of democratic energy in American society right now, more than this baby boomer can remember seeing since the 1970s. And, 2. if he can channel it as our”community organizer” in chief, Obama could seriously disrupt the politics-as-spectacle status quo, reinvigorating a heretofore fragmented, apathetic, and solipsistic American public.
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