As Barack Obama is sworn in as President of the United States of America next week, we - as progressives, activists, and organizers - are more mindful than ever of the promises Obama made during his election campaign - as well as the great challenges he has ahead of him. After nearly six years of war in Iraq, a US policy of torture, a decline in the government's respect for human rights, and a cowboy policy of 'diplomacy,' we are especially mindful of Obama's promises to:
1. End the war in Iraq
2. Shut Down Guantánamo
3. Reject the Military Commissions Act
4. Stop Torture
5. Work to eliminate nuclear weapons
6. Hold direct, unconditional talks with Iran.
7. Abide by Senate approved international treaties.
When President Franklin Roosevelt was in office, a group of organizers came to him to ask for his support for their cause. Roosevelt said, "I agree with you. I want to do it. Now make me do it." We must make Obama do it! He cannot create this change alone. We must remind Obama of the promises he made and support him in creating the change we voted for!
CODEPINK has launched a new campaign today at RemindObama.org that does just that. The new website and video calls for visitors to sign the pledge to support President Obama in his Promises for Peace. It says, "We will be the string around his finger that reminds him to practice what he preaches and deliver the change our country so desperately needs."
As a symbol of this commitment, CODEPINKers are tying pink ribbons around their finger for Obama. Tens of thousands of ribbons that read "Obama, Keep your Promises for Peace" will be handed out on the street to supporters at Obama's Inauguration ceremony next Tuesday. After the inauguration, these ribbons can be tied around the wrist as a reminder to keep up the work it will take to make change.
We should take this moment to celebrate the victory of this last election. However, Change does not happen on its own. As activists, volunteers, and bloggers, we need to harness the energy that we have put into the protests, demonstrations, organizing, and volunteering during this election season and the past 8 years, and finish the job!