Rebels and Cynics

Jeff - Northfied, New Jersey
Entered on November 5, 2008

I believe certain core things about the nature of Americans. We are, at heart, rebels. This country was born of rebels. It was rebellion against tyranny coupled with the need to liberate our thoughts and the notion that we should live freely which first bound us together as a nation and defined “American.” And over time, due to the flaws in human nature — the powers-that-be deciding that laziness and greed might more often prevail over the common good — this rebellious nature gave way to another core facet of our hearts: cynicism. This is the “why bother?” or “what good would it do anyway?” mentality that so many of us harbor. And I say this not with my head hung low, but with a certain pride. I am capable and willing to admit to this flaw in human nature because I do not see it as a liability — rather, I see it as a source of education, and therefore a source of strength. Because cynicism, when it does not succumb to apathy; and rebellion, when thoughtful and for the common good, keeps lit the spark that fuels not just Americans, but all people everywhere. This spark is tenacity. It is hope. It is the idea that we can accomplish anything — so long as we do it together, and for the common good. Americans know when to shed the frivolous and often petty things over which we argue. We know, almost instinctively, when it is time to get to the core of problems and to not be bothered by the fringes of our worries — to tackle the big picture all at once in trust that we will come out on the other side of conflict as a unit again capable to help ourselves, and each other.

And, I think that is precisely what America did tonight. By electing Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States this nation came together for the common good and at long last forged social mores that were, up until this very night, merely a foundation of noble dreams laid by civil rights leaders, and anyone with the tenacity enough to stand up against inequality over the past one-hundred-plus years. We, along with the rest of the world, can now look upon this nation with a fresh set of eyes and see it not only where we’ve been and where we are, but where we will be going.