(cross-post from Huffington Post)
Sarah Palin should not have mocked Barack Obama for being a community organizer. If anything, tonight’s results proved her wrong. Our new President has given new meaning, and strength to the concept of community organizing. And he has shown us what citizens can do, when given the means to organize towards a cause, that’s greater than themselves.
Tonight I am thinking of the thousands of Obama offices, volunteer networks, and fundraising organizations, along with the sophisticated Internet machine, and the organizing methodology, that went into getting Barack Obama elected. As the signs are coming down, the thank you emails go out, and the temporary offices go back to their original owners, I wonder, is that it? Will we go back to business as usual, each in our homes, going about our private lives?
Or will we use the skills learned during the Obama campaign to mount a national community effort, this time to address the threat of climate change? The last time I checked, we had less than ten years to get our act together. Citizens have a crucial role to play on the conservation end. As someone who has tried for the last year and a half, to curtail my consumerist and energy appetites, I can testify on the difficulty of accomplishing such changes at the individual level. Instead, we need to summon the power of community to help each other.
Tomorrow, after you have come down from your victory high, I urge you to keep alive the citizen spirit that made you pick up the phone, and knock on doors, and put up signs on your lawn. Take that energy and become an organizing force in your community. Start a No Beef Lunch at your kids’ school, or a telecommuting initiative at work, or a volunteer home insulation project in your city . . . The climate cause may not have a face like Barack Obama, but it’s all the more reason to take it on.