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Working Toward 'yes We Did' - Shana McLean Moore

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s a person who goes on record as a passionate advocate for community building, I’m nervous talking politics. I suppose I fear that anything I say on the topic will be as polarizing as inserting myself in the middle of a sibling squabble, with half my audience nodding its head in smug “Hah!-mom’s-on-my-side” superiority while the other rolls its eyes in “Whateverrrr” disgust.

This does not a 'come-together' message make. For the record, it does little to create a peaceful family dinner either. But in life and in parenting, sometimes a side must be taken.

If you’re the sibling who’s audacious enough to swipe the last clean pair of socks from her sister’s dresser, or you choose to sneak off with the last three homemade chocolate chip cookies while leaving her with nothing more than some shards of stale graham crackers in the back of the cupboard, I will rise up in my Kevlar vest and stand up to you about what is right.

What is right, for me, is usually summed up in a way that manages to be both simple and daunting at the very same time – it is a desire to live in peace, harmony and unity; both in the micro level of my house and the macro level of this whole wide world we live in.

Yes, this is a wish that is as ambitious of a prospect at home as it is abroad.

As I write this, though, during the week we inaugurate our

new president, I feel so very empowered in the belief that our collective small efforts can amount to great change, both right here in our Bay Area communities and in the role we play in the world. If only President Obama could work his inspiration all the way down to the micro-micro level of inter-sibling relations, I could be a one-woman, “Kumbaya” karaoke act.

While it is true that many of my daily thoughts are directed to the relatively shallow injustices involving snickerdoodles and socks, my concerns for our nation run deeper. So with my vital organs protected with some virtual Kevlar, I stand up today to the people – both the strangers and the members of my extended family – who did not vote for Obama.

I realize that you, like me, voted your mind and your heart for what you felt was the best direction for our country. But now that it is done, I beg you not to sit in your armchair waiting for our president to fail. The price to pay for your being right is simply too high to pay, because Obama’s failure would be our own. The state of our economy is too dour to expect the government to throw money at every one of the problems we face. This means that, as individuals, we have to stand up and do what we can with our own human effort.

While all of this sounds daunting, it is anything but. The way I see it, if every one of us takes a moment to remember why we chose to raise our family in our respective communities, we can start right there. For my family, the choice to set up our home in Almaden Valley was about the quality of our schools, the beauty of our geography and the sense that we could live in a small town within a big city.

By pinpointing why we made this choice, we clarify our priorities and can easily determine where we can make a difference with a genuine sense of passion. Those of us who are bold and ambitious can create groups and organize legions of people to support us in our mission, and the rest of us can choose to quietly work as individuals towards our cause.

When I give my time and energy as a classroom volunteer or PTA member; when I pick up the pieces of trash we all seem to think someone else should pick up; when I greet my neighbors by name and act inclusively in my gatherings, I am making sure that my community will go even further towards being all of the things that drew me here.

If each individual in our communities makes these small efforts, President Obama will have proven that we not only can and will, but after four years of individual accountability for the common cause, he will be able to tell us, Yes We Did.

Shana McLean Moore is a columnist for the Almaden Times and is the author of Femail: A Comic Collision in Cyberspace and Caffeinated Ponderings on Life, Laughter & Lattes. She hopes you’ll stop by to savor some of her Fresh Brew by subscribing to her free newsletter and podcast at www.caffeinatedponderings.com


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Sunnyside Communications
Shana McLean Moore is a resident of Almaden Valley. In addition to being a columnist and staff writer for the Almaden Times, she is a motivational speaker who specializes in community building. She can be reached through her blog.

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