I don't know anyone who believes the current economic downturn in our country is going to get better anytime soon. In fact, everything I hear, and everyone to whom I talk, forecasts that things will get much worse before it gets better.
Most of us are optimistic about the change in administration - and rightfully so. We cling to the hope that a fresh face, new ideas and a new spirit of bi-partisan cooperation will make things better for all of us. But President-elect Obama, was right: the change needed in our country is not brought about by the election of a new president. This really isn't about him, its about us. Weathering this fiscal storm is as much about what we can do for one another as it is about what Washington will do for us.
Today it was reported that jobless claims have soared to over 500,000, the highest number of Americans filing for unemployment since September 11, 2001. The unemployment rate has climbed to 6.5%.
While we await the January 20 inauguration, what can we do?
These are the times that we turn to one another as neighbors. Times are hard for all of us. But we can rediscover something of the spirit of community that we saw as many of us contributed to the Obama campaign. It showed what we can do when we're enraptured by a cause.
When people told me that Obama had no 'executive experience', I told them that he was the head of a corporation that generated $650 million in revenue and employing more than 4000 people, with the specific goal of getting him elected president - and he's just about done it.
Those who saw hope and promise in his candidacy, half of whom donated less than $200 to the effort, now need to continue that expression of hope to strengthen those agencies and organizations which feed and comfort the most vulnerable among us in these desperate times.
We must do it now, as the holidays approach and we we await the policies we hope will right this economy. Now we must dedicate ourselves not just to the success of a candidate, but to one another as citizens, as community. If you're looking for a cause for 2009, this is it.
And there's no better time to start than now.