Voting for change is only the first step

To the editor:

Nov. 4, 2008, we spent the whole day in the church basement, with some of the most colorful characters I’ve ever met, helping people register and vote. The food was outstanding. Some people got their cookies first and worked their way up to voting.

This is a very conservative town with a median age of 53 (many people retired here after having summer homes on the lake). It’s common to see folks in their 70s, 80s and 90s volunteering for community projects. When we counted the ballots, it was funny. There’d be a vote for Obama/Biden and then everything else Republican. Or all Republican except the two local women running for state rep and county commissioner. Two county candidates ran as both Dems and Republicans. Not sure how they can do that, but on each ballot we had to count which one they were.

At the end of the night, McCain beat Obama by a small margin. Our local police officer (the first full-time officer in the town’s history) said it was amazing that in such a conservative town Obama did so well.

Hebron was considered a bellwether town by the Democratic campaign. So we had high hopes that in Plymouth, with a college, Obama would do better.

Yes, it was true. Now America has elected its first non-white president and his lily-white veep. Does this mean that a woman, a Jew, an Arabic person or Hispanic could win the next election? No. It means that a well-educated community organizer who is savvy about the 21st century information age can mobilize a coalition to change how politics is done. Obama and his team ran a “new age” campaign and it worked. The mechanisms of social communication have changed and the Republican national political leaders had NO IDEA. American culture and world culture are evolving at an escalating rate as technology makes all things possible.

However, freedom to dream and to accomplish great things derive from family, school and community support as well as media images and celebrity examples. If you really want to see change, go volunteer in a local middle school and let all the kids know that they matter to you. Shop in the small businesses. Vote with your feet and your money. Barack Obama and his team can show the way, but we are all the foot soldiers of the new age. Yesterday we voted (or saw our votes counted). What do we do today?

Sheila Oranch
Coppertoppe Inn & Retreat Center

Categories: Cook on Concord