Monday, January 19, 2009


Hope does not come naturally too me.  
Sure, I have wants, but I don't sit around and hope they happen; 
I make them happen.

When Barack Obama burst onto the scene and started shaking things up, I did not feel hopeful. I watched everyone my age fall into line with him and his rhetoric of hope and change and I couldn't bring myself to swell alongside them. All I saw was the potential for dashed dreams. What would happen to an entire generation who found their way into political living though the notion of change if that change did not occur, if that hope was left unfulfilled? I feared that an even greater sense of apathy would reign if people felt their efforts and passions had been in vain.  Like the child who finally decides to take control of their education and study for an exam, and wind up with a failing grade and an even stronger sense that action is irrelevant and success will never come. 

As someone who has taught high school in the Bronx for nine years I feel as though I have lived a political life. I didn't simply offer up my money or my time, I offered my self. Perhaps those years of giving, of working toward change and experiencing first hand the devastation of expectation not met, have hardened me to promises of it. 

Change will not come without action. 
Hope alone is not enough; we need hard work and sacrifice.  

Obama, although he already had my vote for President, finally had my whole being when he spoke to the crowds in Chicago on November 4th.   

"But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand. ... This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. ... It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.  So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other."

In this speech, one that could have been simply celebratory, he spoke directly to my concerns for he is a man who has committed his life to action and expects that others do the same. 

I am inspired by Michele Obama saying that Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be looked to as a day of service for America. Ideally, a day to begin a life long commitment to service. 

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