Oh my. It's been an intense week, not just in politics, but in my own life too. Makes me think of a book I read a long time ago. "The Road Less Traveled" by Scott Peck. I don't know, maybe it's quaint by now, haven't checked back in with it for a long time. But I still remember the first line of that book. "Life is hard." And it certainly is, for all of us in different ways. And it always has been, for many who became before us, harder than we can imagine.
Somehow, I feel things are at a bit of a critical mass. And a critical mass is not something that only happens every couple of a hundred years, or so rarely that it is a miracle. Not at all. It's something that happens when the pendulum is shivering with its weight at one end of the spectrum. A kind of electricity in the air, as if something is going to change.
I know there are some here very embittered by a president who promised change, and who they feel did not deliver change. But presidents never deliver change. They preside over it, try to influence it, try to guide it the way they once thought they could, before they became the president. Then many a man, because only a man so far, has found as the leader of the most powerful country on earth, a humility that few who have not sat in that seat will ever know. It's ironic, yes?
Even George W. Bush, looking so tired and ineffectual these days, an unpopular president who has kept his sorry peace since he was retired from the office, shows the wear and tear, no matter how many may believe he's clueless. Make no mistake about it. That office has shown him humility we who have not been there won't understand. He knows history will weigh in on him, and his time to do anything about it has long passed.
Presidents have no choice as candidates but to offer change, and then they pays their money and they takes their chances. Some of them do great things, some of them do incredibly stupid, careless things, most of them do a little bit of both.
But change has really never been about any one leader, although we can thank many for leaders for their part. Change is something we agree on as a people, or it doesn't happen. And it seems to me, that's where America has really suffered in these last yeas is that we just haven't been able to agree change needs to happen.
We are a nation that looks like a tug of war at a picnic. One side thinks this, pull, pull, pull, the other side thinks that, pull, pull, pull. And for what seems like forever, no one falls down.
But lately, call me crazy, I'm starting to see small signs that the rope is beginning to fray in a way that makes hope still relevant. Really, it's always been relevant, except in those times when we decide to invest OUR hope in other people, instead of ourselves. For all the histrionics in this political week, for as crazy as it's gotten, don't you smell something on the wind? I do.
I smell the end of something, even if it may take who knows how may years to end. I smell the decrease of what I have abhorred for years---the worst part of America. The
arrogant, pull yourself up by your bootstraps or damn you because this land offers you everything meme. Because it doesn't offer us everything, even though it has the potential to, and more and more of us are seeing that. It can't even offer us affordable health care without an attempt at a bloodless revolution by those who just can't move forward, who fear change. And if you fear change, you fear hope.
And the fact that America has the potential to offer us us much, and is being held ransom by an old guard that is SO STINGY with so much that we have to offer, is the most infuriating.
We are still a young country, compared to others. Europe for instance, has been humbled in ways we can't even begin to understand, both by the age of its efforts, and its geography. We are teenagers on the world stage, teenagers who inherited a lot before age got a chance to teach them any wisdom.
But this much I know is true. Times are never more fraught then when change is on the horizon. Because whether it's a family or a country, systems fight to maintain the status quo they have established, and those who fight to introduce new thoughts, new ideas and yes, HOPE, are fought the hardest when it looks like they're getting somewhere.
I think we're getting somewhere, and that's why it's so freaking crazy these days. Change is a messy, uncomfortable, painful, uneven and very long process. I fear that we, in this age of a click to immediate gratification, think we are somehow immune to that truth. We are not, and all our high falutin' technology cannot save us from the fight for every brave new world those before us had to fight for.
So I hope, and yes I DO hope, that we on this site, Democrats, progressives and independents, will LEAN IN NOW, when it's most important. That we won't give into the gloom and doom, or the sux vs. the rox, or any of the other petty fights that distract us---well, at least not often enough to hurt us.
I HOPE that as we approach the mid terms of 2014, we can pull in our lower lips from whatever pout we have, and fight like the dickens to make the best things happen that we can make happen. AND, that will require us all to choose our priorities, and will certainly involve disappointments and compromises. But that just makes us the same as everyone who ever fought for anything good and right before us.
I HOPE we can pull ourselves together to finally give the currently treasonous GOP as good of a fight as they've given us. I HOPE we will not get side tracked picking the pimples on our own faces. I HOPE we will not let another 2010 happen to us, because no matter why it happened, it did, and it has been as disastrous for Democrats, as the loss of the presidential office has been for republicans. I HOPE that we will fight for the best we can get, but have the grace to take a bit less than that when we have to.
I HOPE that we all realize that we are at a critical mass. If we don't stop them soon, however we can do it, the carnage won't stop, and it might just become unstoppable.
I HOPE we will not put our investment in hope in a president, but rather take responsibility to be the change we want. And no matter what you think about Obama, he suggested that was true from the get go.