I haven't done much writing here lately, but I've done a lot of reading. And while nothing much has inspired me to write, I've noticed a habit I've been developing while reading ... and that is that I keep rolling my eyes. It seems that every time I click on a diary, I'm rolling my eyes in amazement at what some corporation, news organization or Republican has done this time. Then I find myself wondering what drives them to do these things? The usual suspects come to mind: greed, selfishness, hate, self-righteousness, lust for power.
It's getting old. So old that when I happen upon another story I think about sharing, I stop myself. What's the point of propagating another example of man's inhumanity to man? Look at what so-and-so has done now. Are we surprised? No. It's just business as usual. Same crap; just another day.
Years and years ago I read a quote that I think was attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but for all the searching I've done, I've yet to find it again. It basically said that most differences between men are not between right and wrong, but between two opposing ideas of what is right. Lately I've been wondering how that can be true. The hate and vitriol just seems to get worse with each passing day.
This afternoon I had the television on in the background while I worked at my computer, when I heard President Obama finishing his speech in Hollywood. And something he said jumped out at me.
I have my critics, obviously. But since we're here in Hollywood, I want to think about something the late, great Chicago film critic Roger Ebert (and I was fortunate to get to know Roger Ebert and was always inspired by how he handled some really tough stuff). "Kindness," he wrote, "covers all of my political beliefs." Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. And when I think about what I'm fighting for, what gets me up every single day, that captures it just about as much as anything.I do not understand how anybody could find anything to hate about this man who has so much kindness in his heart. And then I stop and think about a time thirty or so years ago when somebody made my life very difficult and one day I asked my mother a question about that woman. "Mom, why does Grace hate me?" And my mother responded, "because you forgave her." And that's when I realized why so many from the right hate President Obama. It is because he forgives them. He does not let their hate change who he is or what he believes. He does not retaliate against their hate. He takes the high road and does what is best for the people he was elected to serve, including those that hate him so much.
Kindness. Empathy. That sense that I have a stake in your success. That I'm going to make sure just because Malia and Sasha are doing well, that's not enough. I want your kids to do well also. And I'm willing to help to build good schools so that they get a great education even if mine are already getting a great education. And I'm going to invest in infrastructure and building things like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam and the Internet, because ... because I'm investing for the next generation, not just this one.
And that's what binds us together and that's how we've always moved forward based on the idea that we have a stake in each other's success. And that's what drives me. And that's what will continue to drive me. I believe that every kid should have opportunity. I believe that our daughters should have the same opportunities as our sons.
We may have different ideas and different policies on how to do things, but that shouldn't negate that that core vision is what we're fighting for. And we should be able to sit down together, and to keep dreaming, and to keep working, and to make sure that the American dream that's been described here in Southern California is sustained for generations to come. And what's stopping us is not policy details, it's not technical issues, its to summon the courage to put politics aside once in a while and remember that we got more in common than our politics would suggest. And as long as I've got the privilege of serving as your president, that's what I'm going to keep making sure that I do. To put politics aside once in a while and work on your behalf.
From now on when I read about another injustice in this country, I will work towards improving myself and having a heart as big and forgiving as that of President Obama.