This I Believe

Yorkali - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on August 29, 2008

“What was that for? It doesn’t matter, it was in the past.

Simba and Rafika

I was watching the Lion King with my daughters and I saw something new in the last great pre-Pixar Disney movie. If we remember Simba’s plight of identity and denial. How being consumed by the mistakes of his past kept him from returning home to remove Scar from his treacherous reign over the Pride Lands. I see a similar theme with the Senator from Illinois. Now stay with me…Barack as most know, also has had to come to terms with his dual identity of being African and American and the symptomatic issues that followed. This in my mind reflects a wider situation.

These United States are yet to come to terms with it’s multi-identity of being African, American, Irish, Catholic, Italian, Polish and all the other strands of DNA that permeate the Stars and Stripes. I believe that confronting it’s past as a nation is part of solving it’s future. As it stands, the politics of fear is the new tool. Fear of terrorists, fear of China, fear of immigrants, fear of the future…fear of it’s very own self. The contrast that Barack strikes between fear and hope is distinct not because of it’s lofty rhetorical appeal but simply because it’s true. When a people’s fear is greater than their faith in themselves disaster is not far off. Despots rise to power and those in power become a darker shadow of their former selves. History is littered with a multitude of examples.

These United States are facing a firestorm in the search of it’s identity and true purpose as a country / world-power. It will not end after the Obama era passes or after two or twenty non-caucasion presidents. If we learn anything from history, we should know that national identity is constantly evolving. And for those who say “This country is not ready for a black/female/hispanic/asian/_________president.” they have no idea how fast the United States is changing and the incredible effect globalization is having on immigration patterns across world. The splintering and “remixing” of American identity and DNA will redefine our concept of American. A city on a hill cannot be hid. All the peoples of the world will never stop coming here. No legislation will EVER change that….ever. Diversity is no more than a catch-phrase, it is what these United States are.

The most diverse super-power since the Roman empire.

To govern a nation this splintered and diverse, one must know who they truly are at their core. If not self-doubt, self defeat and ultimately destruction are not far off. The barbarians will be at the gate faster than you can say Nero. Americans are coming to grips with who they truly are. So, like Simba when your true self becomes clear and known, and you accept it, there is very little that can derail you from your goal. When Mufasa reminds Simba that he is the son of a King, not some feather of a cub going where the wind takes him, he realizes that there is so much more than fear. There is so much more than self-doubt. He gathers strength from his true identity and takes hold of his future. Nothing stops him, not even a Scar on his past.