Wow! 2008 has started with a bang that has taken our breath away. After the long, cold winter of our discontent, with the most extreme, reactionary agenda taking over the levers of government, spring is within sight. And with spring comes hope.

Hope. Change. Unity.

Those three simple words and the profound message they represent are like lightning that has lit a political prairie fire across the country. And it’s appropriate that the messengers who have ignited a nation are a son of the prairie state of Illinois, Sen. Barack Obama, and the heartland voters of Iowa. Suddenly, after Iowa, a whole new dynamic has transformed the presidential campaign, and perhaps the nation.

No one could have predicted it — the enormity of the voter turnout and passion to take back the country from far right ideology, corruption, massive corporate greed and a foreign policy that has only created more war, poverty and misery.

That’s what is motivating so many to come out and vote for either the possible first Black president (Obama), the first woman president (Hillary Clinton), a pro-union son of a millworker (John Edwards), the first Latino president (Bill Richardson) or the “lion of the left” (Dennis Kucinich). Record numbers so far have come to the polls, especially independents, young people, women and new voters. This has even affected the Republican race, with many also calling for change.

People are so tired, especially after these last eight years of the Bush regime and with democracy and the economy in the pits (for working families) that they are standing up and saying, No more!

No one could have predicted the readiness of large swaths of the country to respond to the calls for change. The sheer size and diversity of the outpouring at the polls and engagement in the political process are infusing life-restoring medication into the body politic. It’s uplifting to see so many — white, Black, brown, yellow, women and men, younger and older — going to the polls.

These voters, it seems, want to signal to the world that something is new and different now, that we want to deal with issues of jobs, housing, healthcare and education, with racial and gender inequality, with immigrant rights — and that we want to deal with the world in a different and better way.

PWW in the mix

This newspaper has been fighting and organizing tirelessly for a multiracial working-class change. And you, too, have responded to the times with your actions, like putting us over the top for the 2007 fund drive!

That’s right. The People’s Weekly World fund drive went over our $200,000 goal! This is something else to celebrate as 2008 begins. And it’s not a moment too soon since we have had to take cost-saving measures to bring our budget into line. To hit the $200,000 mark for the first time in a number of years is further proof that you are part of this prairie fire for progressive change.

And the good news keeps coming. We are in the last stretches of our subscription campaign. Our goal is an ambitious 1,000 new subscribers, and at last count, we are halfway there. Which, again, is something to celebrate. Five hundred new subscribers to the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo means 500 new activists committed to the labor and progressive struggles to change our country.

We know there will be twists and turns and ups and downs throughout this year … BUSH’S LAST YEAR … but we have reason to be smiling that this will be a good year to be alive and in the struggle.