Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Elevating the discourse

I am not a political animal. Especially for the past few years, any level of emotional investment seemed to be a waste of time. I won't hesitate to say that critical thinking was a rare beast that made unicorns look as common as Central Park pigeons. It's deeply disheartening.

But this morning, I can't get Obama's speech out of my head.

Vanmojo put it quite succinctly. It's like it came out of an episode of West Wing, it's that good. We're going to be talking about this speech for the next fifty years, regardless of whether Obama wins or not, because he has raised the level of political discourse. He has refused to reduce incredibly complex issues down to a sound bite. He respects our ability to know the difference between a thousand shades of gray. He asks us to believe that we are capable of changing the way things are.

One of the things I have learned over the passed year is that if you believe in someone, they will rise to the occasion. If you tell someone that you believe in them, if you give them your heart and your soul and show them that you have faith in them, and if that someone respects you and cares about your opinion of them, that person will go on to do amazing things. They will dig deep within themselves and find the person you believe them to be. They will exceed their own expectations, and sometimes the belief itself. Because we all want to do good. I firmly believe that of most people. We want to make the world a better place. We want to be gracious and kind and respectful. We want to be gentle and caring when it's called for, and we want to be fierce and courageous when we are called to. We want to work hard and have something to show for it at the end of the day. And yes, we have our weak moments, when we indulge our petty selves, because we are only human. But for the most part, we want tomorrow to be better than today.

It'd be so very nice to have someone in the White House who not only wants that, but asks it of us as well. Someone who inspires us to be the better person. At first I was sceptical -- no, that's wrong. I was extremely cynical. But now I'm starting to feel it. I'm starting to feel like Obama is the Kennedy of our generation. It's a frightening feeling, to have hope again.

If you haven't seen or read his speech from Philadelphia yet, please take a moment to do so.

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