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(Getty: Scott Olson)

As election season comes to an end, it’s time to shift the dialogue happening around our country. It’s time to begin a dialogue about moving forward. What does the next decade look like for our country and how do we begin to take steps to change the national dialogue?

Four years ago, we found our country in utter disarray. We were engaged in two separate wars abroad with no real end in sight. Our economy was the worst it had been since the Great Depression. The unemployment rate was at an all time high with no foreseen resolution. Americans were filled with hopelessness, and desired a major shift in the direction of our country.

Four years later, we find ourselves living in a much different country:

  1. One of the two wars we were engaged in has come to an end, and the second has a clear timetable to do the same.
  2. The legislation that has become known as, “ObamaCare”, has extended health coverage to over 97% of Americans.
  3. Wall Street Reform has been passed which has stabilized our markets, and created more restrictions on the industries that helped create the economic downturn.
  4. The economy, although still recovering, continues to add jobs month after month.
  5. Meanwhile, the approval rating of this President is the highest amongst our global partners since Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt.

I fully expected President Obama to win re-election and that we’d have to begin to look at what the future looks like for our children. With four more years ahead, and a governance style that will look towards legacy instead of re-election, we are positioned to experience increased prosperity.

  1. This can only happen if we change the highly partisan charged culture of Washington.
  2. This can only happen if the American people demand more of their leaders.
  3. The spirit of bi-partisanship and moving forward must start as all great social movements do, from the people.

Maybe I am naïve, or perhaps it’s the young idealist in me coming forward, but I believe that we the people have the power to move the country forward in a positive manner. That’s not a Democratic or Republican concept. It’s about what’s best for our country. The greatest societies of all time came to be because they understood the concepts of intellectual discourse and civility in disagreement. In the last four years we’ve lost that in this country. I don’t think any particular group is to blame, but I do believe that it will take those of us that have become accustomed to being the social conscience of the nation, to lend our services again.

Whether we like it or not, America is changing for all communities. Although our country still reams with ghosts of our past social ills, our children are becoming increasingly a testament of what we’ve always dreamed this country can be.

  1. They believe in tolerance and acceptance.
  2. They understand the flatness of the globe.
  3. They are optimistic about the future, and their ability to pull themselves up by the bootstraps.

The only people that can stop this progress…is us.I remember the first time I was inspired when I heard our President speak the words, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting on.” We’ve arrived, now let’s look forward.

On the matter of equality, this President signed into law the Lily Ledbetter Act that would ensure equal pay for equal work, a victory for women in our country. He appointed two women, and the first person of Hispanic descent to the United States Supreme Court. He repealed the military policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and stood in support of same sex marriage.

These are things our country was promised four years ago. These are the things this President has delivered. How do we define progress on Election Day? Are we a country that simply turns our back on those that keep their promises, or are we simply moved by those that make empty promises with no real plan to achieve them.

What we did on November 6, 2012 will define us for generations to come. My only prayer is that we truly live to be the generation that I hope we are, and that I know we will be.

Remember…the world is watching.

Dallas S. Jones is the President/CEO of Elite Change, Inc. a public affairs and political consulting firm with offices in Houston, Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Washington, DC.

He resides in the 3rd Ward community with his wife Angela Lopez Jones.

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