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Kevin Danaher Reports from Washington

Dear Global Exchange Supporter,

Usually, when Global Exchange staff go to Washington, D.C. it is to protest some aspect of U.S. policy. So this time, it was refreshing to join millions of Americans celebrating the inauguration of a progressive, African-American president, Barack Hussein Obama. Over the years, we have been in many large crowds, but nothing could compare to the size of this jubilant throng. Even the low temperatures and whipping wind did not cool people's spirits.

The high point was the president's speech, in which he reaffirmed his adherence to justice as the touchstone of his belief system. He pointed to the failures of the Bush Administration without naming Bush personally.

"Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet."

He promised to reverse the foreign policies of the Bush administration: "We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet."

But we must remember, Obama's ability to implement these policies largely depends on what "we the people" do over the next four years. It's rare for the progressive left to see an ally in the president. And with this chance, we are excited by Obama's desire to break with the past, thrilled at the opportunity to throw ourselves into the effort of service, and pleased by the prospect of exercising a greater voice in pushing our priorities forward.

Yet, as an organization known for our rabble-rousing behavior, we strongly believe and want to encourage "we the people" to keep pushing the president and the new administration.

As President Obama has said on many occasions, "This is not about me, it is about you." So, get up, get moving, and start pushing our new president to deliver on his promises, and keep on pushing him to carve out a path based on justice.

Thank you, as always, for your work on behalf of peace & justice,

Kevin Danaher, co-founder of Global Exchange

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