It is tempting to say that we are at the end of a long journey.  Democrats can rejoice that their party has again attained the majority in the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal Government.  People of color can rejoice that a person who is not a Caucasian male has attained the highest office in the land.  Americans as a group can rejoice that we can finally see an end to the failed Bush presidency.  We had a good evening of celebration.

This is not the end to any road.  Today is the start of a long road toward restabilizing the country, then making the changes that are necessary to improve us as a country.  There are a lot of things that need to be done.  It will not be enough to step back and think that our new leaders will have everything under control.

Our new America will require a lot of work on the part of “We the People”.  We have elected new leaders.  If we expect to save our economy or have health care for all or create a society where all people can truly be considered equals, it will require that the masses keep working toward the goal.

Do we want to get our troops out of Iraq?  Do we want a foreign policy that encourages cooperation among the countries of the world?  Do you want to see more diplomacy and less war?  Well, then.  You will need to tell our new leaders that is what you want, and that you expect them to come through sooner rather than later.

Do we want to see policies that encourage saving the environment?  Do we want to see greater use of renewable or alternative fuels?  Do we want to see steps that reduce our reliance on oil?  Well, then.  You will need to get started telling that to our new leaders, so that your priorities will be known to them.

Do you want to see health care reform?  Do you want to see a lowering of health care costs and universal availability of health insurance for anyone who wants or needs it?  It will not happen on its own.  You will need to let our leaders know that you expect them to get started working on those projects right away.  It will not happen by itself, just because we elected the people who can do the job for us.

We expect a lot of things to happen, now that we have elected new leaders.  that is a good start, but it is a beginning, not an end.  It is up to you, the citizen who voted and volunteered and talked to others about the need to get involved in the political system.  It is up to you to start talking about the changes you want to see in Cascadia and in the rest of America.  It is up to you to start doing this right away.

As citizens of the US and citizens of our state, we have just finished the process of hiring (or rehiring) our leaders to do a job.  As any manager knows, we cannot simply hire someone and let them go to work.  We must actively let these new hires know what we want them to do for us.  Our leaders will be working for the people who contact them and let them know what they want.  You need to be that person.

In addition to staying in contact with your leaders, you will need to campaign for the changes that you want to see.  You campaigned for Obama.  You campaigned for your favorite senator, representative, or local candidate.  Now we will be doing a similar but slightly different kind of campaigning.  We will be advocating for want we want to see our leaders do.

We have made a good start.  Let’s keep doing good into the future.