I started writing this to reach clarity about my impression of Senator Obama. I decided that what attracts me most about him is his belief in what is possible and that it takes all of us to achieve the possible and not any one group. It also seems to me that what he sees as possible transcends our greatest imaginings, if we would only believe and step out and do our part to make it happen. His presence in this presidential election has struck chords that run deeply, chords that run deeply through us all, in spite of our differences. I think it’s because these are aspirations common to us by nature of being human. So while they may be silenced, sometimes for long periods of time, so long that we think they’re no longer there, it takes only a spark to get them lighted and burning again. I believe Senator Obama has been that spark.
For me and for many others, I suspect, his presence in the presidential election is more than about him running for president. It’s about something larger and wider than maybe he himself understands. We have begun to ask ourselves questions diametrically opposed to the superficial, feel-good, self-absorbed dialogs to which we’ve become accustomed. And why I know this is a human condition is because the questioning and interest in Senator Obama and what he prescribes go beyond the United States of America, to the Caribbean, to Europe, to the Far East, to places we would have thought only politicians are paying attention because US policy and action affect their countries.
I believe that I am being offered another chance, that we are being given another opportunity to decide where we stand, what we intend to commit to, the values to which we will hold fast not only with regard to the presidential candidates or the politics we practice. That’s easy. The challenge is really about our lives. How will we live them? Will we continue to spend our lives aimlessly, reactively, jerked hither and thither by whichever wind, our strings pulled by the puppet master of the moment? I hope not. I believe that our lives are far too valuable, too essential to re-creating the time and space in which we live to spend them frivolously and carelessly. So, the challenge today for me, for us, is to stop taking the easy path, to stop dealing with the obvious, the superficial and risk digging below the surface and face what we may find. It’s only when we know what we are dealing with that we can fix it where and if it needs fixing.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.