Big Opportunities, Big Change

Congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama!

Barack Obama warned us that some would try to make this big election be about small things. My warning is that we don’t let this big opportunity only lead to small change.

Big Opportunity

More than 137 million voters cast ballots this election, up 14% from 2004. 63.7 million (56%) of those people voted for Barack Obama, giving him more votes than any candidate in the history of US Presidential Election history. That is what you call a mandate.

Being the candidate with more supporters than any other President has ever had, Obama has been given a chance to serve more people than anyone could imagine. He can impact the finances of millions of people. He can improve the health of hundreds of millions of people. He can increase the moral standing of a nation in the eyes of billions of people. What a great opportunity to carry out public service and set the tone for the spirit of shared service & shared sacrifice that he so eloquently espouses.

Big Change

To whom much is given, much is required. (Luke 12:48)

The level of support and passion surrounding Barack Obama says more about the people supporting him than about Obama himself. It says that Obama is an inspirational figure, but that was evident before he started running for President. More importantly, it says that people are hungry. Hungry for change. Hungry for a new approach. Hungry for something to do. This is why Obama always talks about this election not being about him, but instead being about us.

With everybody so hungry, the onus is on the Obama team to give us something to eat. I don’t want a snack. I want a full, seven course meal. Legions of people do not organize for incremental change. Armies form to march forth into bold victory.

Now is our chance to make real, fundamental change in very progressive ways. This change will not happen because Barack Obama is a progressive. It can & will happen if we push our government, our newly-elected President, and, most importantly, ourselves to work towards the new kind of politics that Barack Obama helped us to believe was possible.

Let’s be bold. Let’s ask for a lot out of this administration. Let’s make Barack Obama a successful President by ensuring that he keeps his promise to start making big changes to the way America works. We helped him make history on November 4th. Let’s keep making history for the next 4 years.

One Love. One II.

P.S. Homework assignment: Everyone under 30 should talk to someone over 60 about what this election means to them.


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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

3 responses to “Big Opportunities, Big Change”

  1. Yobachi says :

    I don’t disagree in essence with your point of Obama making big changes; though I have a caution and an addition.

    The way you go at big changes with the myriad of immediate dire situations: two difficult wars to traverse and the financial calamity, not to mention the looming energy crisis; it is important that you don’t move just to move and move poorly causing larger problems for himself and us all.

    That’s my caution.

    My addition is that while Obama must do what he must do from his position of power and leadership; whatever agenda his supporters want, they must support it beyond the vote. That means the work at the community levels and activist levels that synthesis the agenda up must continue full speed ahead, and legislatures must be held accountable by voters, as they are ultimately the law makers.

    I have a post discussing this notion in more detail that I’ve already written, just not edited yet; that will be up at tomorrow morning.


  2. Garlin II says :

    Yobachi, as always your perspective is on point.

    I agree that the pending Obama administration must act thoughtfully and substantively, not just for the sake of acting. That type of “action” is what got us TSA. Do you feel safer at the airport? Didn’t think so.

    Your call for organizing at the community level is in line with mine if wanting us to ask a lot of ourselves during this time of opportunity. Barack told us to believe in our ability to change things. Let’s translate the belief into action.

    Everyone, check out Yobachi’s post today.

    One Love. One II.

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  1. “President Obama”: Voices from Blogland | Sports On My Mind - November 6, 2008

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