06 November 2008


Though it is already November, the leaves are only just changing now. The temperatures are high, and the wind scatters wet, orange and red leaves across the broken sidewalks and streets of Philadelphia. The change of the seasons comes late, but it complements the change happening in this country. The day after America surprised me and chose an intelligent, thoughtful, open-minded, far-sighted and careful man to be president, the rain poured down and the world became a bit cleaner, a bit brighter (and a bit wetter). The economy, Iraq, poverty, world hunger, the AIDS epidemic, racism, sexism ... these problems can not change overnight. But attitudes have begun to change. A certain demographic, amidst which I am privileged (yes privileged) to live, holds its head a bit higher, finds new self-respect and experiences a certain sense of achievement and pride. Children have a new role model and a noble goal towards which they can and will strive. This is real change and it has happened overnight.
Add to my usual qualities of thoughtfulness, awareness, being informed a certain amount of respect for the other and for oneself.
I believe that this subtle yet tangible shift in outlook by this aforementioned demographic, coupled with (caused by) a realization of being a part of something greater will bring great reward for the world we live in, and especially for the environment that houses us. Mother nature has suffered so.
I do promise to return to the Goethe passage I quoted earlier. Now I will only touch on one point. Dear, nature-loving and respecting Goethe wrote: "Wir wirken beständig auf sie und haben doch keine Gewalt über sie" ("we constantly affect nature, but have no force over her"). I fear that with the rise of modernity and an increase in technology, man has found a way to control and damage nature in a way that Goethe and his pantheistic contemporaries could never have imagined. We have hurt nature and have done so carelessly and without much consideration.
However, care and consideration could potentially enter the realm of the everyday. (The tragedy that these are not currently typical qualities of the average man is too upsetting a topic for me to address at this moment.) Barack Obama is considerate. He cares. He is a role model. A new generation will grow following his model and knowing only his leadership. Ritual and community will be respected. Food will gain its rightful place at the centerpiece of such ritual. Appreciation of food will bring attention to ingredients and their origin. Food origin and production will steer communities in the direction of agricultural practices and the environment. And mother nature will gain some respect.
All thanks to Obama.

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