Get Our Help While You Can, Obama Commentator and comedian Paula Poundstone was a Barack Obama supporter, but she's not satisfied with Tuesday's win. She wants an assignment to help fix the country's problems — the way her parents, members of the "Greatest Generation," repeatedly pitched in.

Get Our Help While You Can, Obama

Get Our Help While You Can, Obama

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

People still seem full of hope after the historic election of Barack Obama. This is America, though, it can't last. Pleased and proud as we are, Obama hasn't been on American Idol, so we're bound to lose interest soon.

That's why President-elect Obama needs to waste no time in harnessing this feeling and ask something of us. We'll spend. We'll save. We'll do laps. We'll wear sweaters.

My parents are a part of the "Greatest Generation." They pulled our nation through the Depression and World War II, and when they heard the call, they collected rubber.

My generation rode out the Beanie Baby crash, ran up both credit card debt and the nation's weight, and brought us reality TV and the SUV, but it's not all we can do. We've grown up collecting box tops and shoes. We've earned free doughnuts by getting our cards punched with every dozen purchased. We're the "a-thon" generation. We've jogged, walked and pedaled thousands of miles because someone said it would cure cancer.

It's our turn now. Just ask us. We've adopted freeways and been up all night with night feedings. We'll bring an unwrapped gift. We'll bring canned goods. We'll collect flip-tops. Yes, we will.

What do you need us to do, President-elect Obama? We could form a bucket brigade to bail out the banks. We could collect Band-Aids, not the useless little ones, for the health care system. We could take shifts forming human pyramids to hold up our crumbling bridges.

The entire country could hold a progressive dinner party to feed the homeless. We could all commit to wearing the same clothes two days in a row to save water, energy and time. I'll go three, because I care more than the others. We can carry road-mending materials in our cars and fill pot holes during traffic jams. We can put a wishing well on Wall Street.

Our leadership has told us that we have a long, hard climb before us, which I would welcome, because I love the outdoors, and I could use the weight loss, but I have a bad feeling it has nothing to do with climbing.

I'm waiting. I'm punching my glove. It's oiled and ready. Pitch it in here, sir.

Commentator and comedian Paula Poundstone is a regular on NPR's game show Wait Wait Don't ... Tell Me!