Yes, We Can!

Posted by: Bittu on

In Barack Obama, the country of my birth has, at long last, elected an African-American. In fact, a person of mixed race – a self-described “mutt” – a person who is comfortable with intellectual complexity, and who is deeply drawn to lifting people up through hope, rather than keeping them down, in fear. I’m no starry-eyed romantic about politicians, and Obama’s every moment as president will not be glorious. But the United States did finally show a better side on November 4, 2008, when it elected this thoughtful man of color. Now, the real work begins, of helping him, keeping him, demanding of him, that he be true to the best ideals this country claims to stand for. Heaven knows, America has much to atone for… there will be no leisure time for Barack Obama! 

I’m very fond of a line from Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens: “Why should you want? Behold, the earth hath roots; within this mile break forth a thousand springs…” There is such wonder, awe, and jubilation in these words… they evoke a planet at peace with itself, abundant with trees, with fresh, flowing water, a paradise for tigers, and for human beings, too. Obama’s election (Yes. We. Can!) has me hoping that it is not too late to turn the corner, to join with ordinary people around the world who are longing to protect and preserve the long-suffering planet we claim to love so much, but treat so callously.  

It feels like a time of beginnings: there is new leadership coming to Washington, D.C., a new website for Sanctuary, and a new initiative for Kids for Tigers, Sanctuary’s remarkable environmental education program that is turning India’s up and coming generations a lovely shade of green! Kids for Tigers children at schools all around India are coming out in force to create the numbers 3-5-0. These kids are teaching leaders around the world what they have already learned: that 387 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere is too much, and that they demand a return to 350 – the level scientists agree will avert the worst catastrophes of climate change. Go Kids for Tigers! Here in the U.S., we will bring your 3-5-0 message right to President-Elect Obama in the White House, and hold him to his promise to help put the world on track to climate sanity. 

Why should we want? As Senator Obama said so often during his campaign, “We are the change we seek… we are the ones we’ve been waiting for!”