Sunday, November 02, 2008
Some Men See Things As They Are And Say Why; I Dream Things That Never Were And Say Why Not...
What's good, soul children? I greet you today with eyes closed, head bowed, and fingers crossed...
For the past several weeks, I've been meditating on what HOPE really means. It's a word that the Obama campaign has adopted in conjunction with its "yes we can" mantra, epitomizing the hunger for change in America and belief in the possibility that a new day could potentially be on the horizon. However, the question remains: is this notion of HOPE merely political propaganda or is it possible that at this juncture in American history, this simple four-letter word signifies something truly meaningful?
Admittedly, optimism as it pertains to politics is an extraordinarily bitter pill for me to swallow. Like many of you, I feel frustrated, skeptical, and apathetic about the government. We've witnessed our tax dollars being shamefully wasted here and abroad, even as many of our hard-working brothers and sisters can't afford to maintain an acceptable standard of living for themselves and their children. We've seen corruption and inefficiency erode our democratic process, causing us to question whether or not the votes we cast will be counted, let alone translate into significant change. We've been cheated, lied to, and taken for fools by those who we've elected and entrusted with our collective well-being. In light of such profound deception, hopefulness may seem woefully analogous to naiveté.
Although I have been a staunch supporter of Barack Obama throughout his run for the presidency, I've never once subscribed to the view that he is some sort of a messiah, healer, prophet, or magician. Our wounds in this country run deep, and the myriad of problems we face on a global level cannot easily be remedied. It's clearly beyond the scope of any one person to solve the crises we face, but there is literally no limit to what human beings can achieve by acting in unison. An effective leader isn't one who has all the solutions, but someone who inspires people to come together and work towards the change they want to see in the world. Segregation, marginalization, and divisiveness be damned...everyday people have always had the power to make a difference. We've just been too disinterested and disenfranchised to acknowledge or assume it. As Obama has said time and again, this election isn't about him...it's about us.
There is a French proverb asserting that "hope is the dream of a soul awake." In the past several months I've witnessed many of my fellow Americans finally opening their eyes and being rejuvenated in the aftermath of a longstanding comatose state. Although the country is predictably divided about which candidate they prefer, the groundswell of support that's surrounded Senator Obama is nothing short of miraculous. The energy at his campaign rallies is something I've never witnessed in my lifetime, the wondrous vitality of a people ignited by a passion for the possible.
Regardless of your political leanings, you have to admit that McCain's audiences don't seem nearly as juiced about their candidate (even if they do think Caribou Barbie is hot). When I reflect on the possibility of four more years, I think not only of the extension of Bush's failed policies, but a return to the sort of lethargy and impassivity that weakened our collective muscle in the first place. Like it or not, Obama has been instrumental in restoring the faith of millions who have grown weary and inadvertantly forgotten how to dream.
To be truthful, my cynical side is afraid of what the outcome of this election may be. I worry that people will allow fear to inform their decision-making process; that the ballot box at my polling station may be stolen or the machines will malfunction; I'm frightened that Obama could one day be assasinated.
When these feelings of negativity arise, I take pause to remind myself of slaves who once prayed for freedom, women who fought tirelessly for the right to vote, and immigrants who've yearned for their inalienable right to breathe free. There have been countless unnamed heroes throughout history who've walked uphill on treacherous terrain, resolving not to sit down just because their feet were tired. Leaders of these movements have often been jailed or murdered, but a stirring in the soul of a people is not easily laid to rest, despite the counteracting efforts of their oppressors.
Hope is an immensely significant aspect of this election, but it's far from being the exclusive domain of Barack Obama. In a broader context, it represents the will of the people and the song of the silenced. Challenge yourself to graduate beyond despair, and be cognizant of the fact that freedom is priceless and hope is free. If we truly want change, our desire must persist beyond the outcome of the upcoming election regardless of who wins. As George Weinberg once said, "hope never abandons you; you abandon it".
Stand up and be counted, children. I'll see you at the polls...
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”
Click here for more videos from Vote For Change
Note: LimeLinx is fairly similar to zShare (you can preview tracks, etc.), except it actually works...
"What The World Needs Now Is Love"---Tom Clay (LimeLinx)
"What The World Needs Now Is Love"---Tom Clay (savefile)
"Imagine"---Nas w/ Pitbull (LimeLinx)
"Imagine"---Nas w/ Pitbull (savefile)
"Hope"---Twista w/ Cee-Lo (LimeLinx)
"Hope"---Twista w/ Cee-Lo (savefile)
"Get Involved"---George Soule (LimeLinx)
"Get Involved"---George Soule (savefile)
"We'll Get Over"---The Staple Singers (LimeLinx)
"We'll Get Over"---The Staple Singers (savefile)
"Bushonomics"---Cornel West & BMWMB ft. Talib Kweli (LimeLinx)
"Bushonomics"---Cornel West & BMWMB ft. Talib Kweli (savefile)
"My Sister's and My Brother's Day Is Comin'"---Dyke & The Blazers (LimeLinx)
"My Sister's and My Brother's Day Is Comin'"---Dyke & The Blazers (savefile)
"Typical American"---The Goats (LimeLinx)
"Typical American"---The Goats (savefile)
"For God's Sake Give More Power To The People"---The Chi-Lites (LimeLinx)
"For God's Sake Give More Power To The People"---The Chi-Lites (savefile)
Word From Your Moms:
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
"Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction."
"We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people. Yes we can."
Above quotes by Barack Obama