Just after the election of now President Barrack Obama in early November, Karen Day, a humanitarian journalist living in Hailey, felt like a lot of other "Obama zombies."
"What to do with my eight-year angst to grind?" she said. "I realized if I didn't do something constructive with all the hope that was floating about it was going to go nowhere like a helium balloon."
Then she had what she called a "field of dreams" moment. Build it and they will come.
Her idea was a movement based on Mahatma Ghandi's famous quote, "Be the change you want to see." It soon moved from concept to art to reality; an online and billboard campaign that one day could sweep the country.
"It's an ad-hoc movement," she said. "I called friends—Republicans and Democrats. Everyone was in the same deflated helium experience. It tapped into a need to for everyone to somehow express themselves. People have a lot of anxiety."
Among those who contributed and are participating in the project are Wood River Valley residents Sue Dumke, Stephanie Perenchio, Pirie Grossman, Peggy Goldwyn, Tracey Caraluzzi, Sandy Valentine and Idaho first lady Lori Otter.
Day hopes that people will log onto www.bethechangeyouwanttosee.net, which opens up such issues as revitalizing the economy, ending the war in Iraq, providing health care for all, protecting America, renewing American global leadership, civil rights, defense, education, energy and environment.
"This is beyond partisanship, beyond red, white and blue," she said. "All hands on deck. People are the most valuable asset any country has. It's unconstructive to take energy and put it into arguing."
The Be the Change project's ultimate goal is to create such a "vital constructive conversation that the administration would pay attention," Day said. "This is a valuable tool. We have to realize that we, the people, are the most valuable assets the country has. We're still a bipartisan county—we want to stimulate our leaders to mirror our best interests."
A billboard stating "Be the Change You Want To See" is on the west side of Interstate 84 before Boise's Broadway exit. Lamar Advertising, a national advertising company, owns the billboard and was so intrigued by the idea, that for every month purchased they will add another month free.
The artwork was created by Elizabeth Hendrix, of Hailey for free, and is available for anyone to download and use on other billboards, posters or Web sites.
"Steal this artwork and use it," Day said. "This is a push to be a participant. Many people are passive and this is encouragement to act, to walk the talk. It encourages you while you're cruising along to think, 'What does that mean? What can I do?' It's an arbitrary message. Because it's in red, white and blue I hope it makes us think what can I do as an American? Write down your ideas. Send them in. Blog on our site. Send videos. Participate."