The expectations of the New Year has us all expecting change on some
level. Change in the nation’s political direction; change in the
global situation; change in the economy; change in the job markets;
change in the schools; change in our local communities; change in
our personal lives. Funny thing about change? It’s much like the
expectations of a new relationship, the reality is always less than
the expectation. What you project as the reason for you hooking
up is not what’s delivered when the deal’s been done. What’s never
discussed in the “change debate” is who’s actually going to change.
The devil is always in the details. How change is worked out in
2009 will be the litmus test as to whether we really are a changed
Change. Never has a one word message resonated so loudly with the American
public. Barack Obama branded “change” in a way that made you want
to go out and buy some. He created a new segment in the economy
called Obama Capitalists, people who produce commodities around
Obama, his accomplishment and his change message. It’s one of the
few growth industries in a failing economy.
But while people are trying to buy themselves some “change” stuff, consumerism
not really being a change engagement, does it mean people will be
willing to practice what they wear? Which takes us to the question,
what is change - who is change - and how is it measured? Moreover,
is change an engagement or an observation? In real terms, is it
a contact sport, or is it something we watch on television and root
for, with our Barack t-shirts on (like football fans with their
football jerseys)? Can Barack make change happen if he can’t inspire
others to change? Well, he inspired us to vote for him, but that
was the easy part. We’ve made the change, now we have to made change
happen. How do we do that? All interesting questions as we prepare
to launch a new year based on this commodity we all are calling
change is a commodity, on whose “to do” list does it go? Change
agents call for change (and oft times get what they ask for because
of the newness of it), but who is the postman for change - responsible
for making sure change gets delivered? What is change’s address?
Where is its destination? In the prescription for change, who measures
the dosage? How much change is enough, versus knowing when the change
hasn’t been sufficient? We see partial change all the time. Complete
change rarely happens. How do we know change is on the way? Because
there is a new figurehead? Do we know change when we see it coming?
If so, do we embrace it or do we run from it?
Most people run from the unfamiliar. They resist change as something
new to learn, or as a burden to them functionalizing someone’s unproven
idea. People like the idea of change - as long as they don’t have
to do it. It’s like moving - people would rather bring the food
and beer than carry a couch or refrigerator up three flights of
stairs. In this instance, the three flights of stairs are:
- a one trillion dollar federal deficit that makes it difficult
for government to while the economy is putting people out of work
- two wars abroad (two flights)
- and a home foreclosure crisis that is causing people to lose their wealth
and shelter (three flights).
far, attempts at change - $700 billion dollar Wall Street bailout,
mortgage modification assistance, deployment rollback and exit strategies,
auto industry layoffs, have all been met with the same social illness
that existed before the change mantra came along, “analysis paralysis.”
So much gum banging that you can’t do anything but sit there in
your Barack t-shirt, with a bag of popcorn, and wonder what’s going
to happen next. We know the problem, but can’t agree on solutions.
Any solution has been complicated by this “two Presidents at a time”
show that has a shadow President (elect) trying to egg on a lame
duck President. It’s like watching a tug of war, two people against
a ton of bricks. Obama is the only one tugging. Bush is just holding
the rope, waiting for the clock to run out. Change, huh?
2009 is going to be a year to watch, but change is not a spectator sport.
Change in America is only going to come about when we all engage.
Obama’s candidacy and election tickled our imagination. Now it’s
time for us to tickle our reality in a way that moves us off the
dime and in a direction that improves our quality of life. Change
is a contact sport. The American people are going to have to hit
the wall of mess left by Bush. Don’t be surprised when the wall
hits back. Change will have to leave a hole in the wall, at worse,
or knock the wall down, at best. One thing we know for sure. We
all have our work cut out for us. Change is more than a mantra.
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, is a national
columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum
and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is AnthonySamad.com.
to contact Dr. Samad.