This past weekend we heard a lot of “we the people” from President Barack Obama during his second inaugural address and people reciting the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “where do we go from here”.
President Obama gave me something to think about as I sat in my chair watching him address the nation. I thought about my upbrining as a child in the segregated south, and my travels over the old route 66 and interstate 40 that we traversed many times from coast to coast. I thought of my marriage of 50 years, on January 26th of this month to my wonderful wife Cheryl. I thought about our wonderful children and their families and the opportunities they now enjoy from the efforts of their ancestors. I thought about how blessed I am to witness the progress of our nation in electing and then re-electing Barack Obama as president of these United States of America. His re-election epitomizes the progress we have made because many wanted to make him a one-term (fluke) president. The nation has turned the corner in including others in the policy making of our government.
I reflected on these things and concluded none of this would not have been possible without “we the people” working together as a government. It was President Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and others that fought to help overcome slavery in this country. It was Rosa Parks, Medger Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and others to help tear down the Jim Crow walls of “separate but un-equal” and enacting basic federal civil right laws of equality in employment, commerce, housing, education and the all important voting rights laws which are under attack today.
As the inaugural program progressed tears came to my eyes as I reflected on how far we have come as people of different races and genders participating in the program. Not only in government but the diversity of people reporting on the event from several news outlets. I know the efforts and strategies required to integrate a staff from my many years at Southern California Edison and Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program with the responsibility of recruiting diversity to break down walls from years of legal discrimination.
It took people like Geneva Hillman, Clifford Gallup, Oliver Roemer of Edison, Jim Vohs, Dr. Ray Kay, Art Forbes, Robert Erickson and Frank Boeckman of Kaiser to bring diversity to these companies.
None of these things would have been possible without “we the people” voting and hiring people of a different races, genders, religions or lifestyles.
Where do we go from here is the question most of us have at the top of our conversation lists? It is clear that in order for people to be elected for a large district or statewide office one must embrace diversity. One has to be mindful of women’s issues as we have more women seeking elected office and being elected. With these two groups being involved in the political process means different policies to deal with equal pay, children, seniors, health care, military and foreign countries will be passed.
It will mean a change in political party’s platforms and inclusion of the same in leadership positions. This will force corporate America to change their boardrooms and how they outreach into the society that buys and consumes their products. It will mean that taxpayers will be expecting more than lip service when it comes to governing a community and people. It will mean dollars will be directed in a different direction to help the least of us while not taking anything away from the successful ones.
With the re-election of President Obama it means our children regardless of race, sex, religion or lifestyle can wake up from a dream and begin the work on making it a reality.
We are getting reports that this shift is causing the Republican Party to re-evaluate their outreach strategies. The question for them is what will the more levelheaded members of the party speak out to silence most conservative members.
It appears at this moment that the Democratic Party has their act together while not allowing the most liberal thinking, anything goes members to have their way. They must govern wisely and not over reach with unproven ideas. They will govern for a long time if they find the good and praise it and involve “we the people.”