Have you ever listened to The Beatles’ song, ‘Yesterday?‘
Of course you have. But just in case, here are the first two lines:
Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay, oh I believe in yesterday
As we have gone through this midterm election cycle, I’ve been thinking a lot about yesterday.
You see, two years ago today, I woke up in the morning and, having witnessed one of the few truly transcendent and defining American moments in my short time on this earth, wrote the following, wide-eyed reaction to Barack Obama’s being elected our 44th President.
The Reality of Hope
As the sun rose on November 5, it brought with it a new dawn, literally and figuratively, for every American. Some woke up to catch their first glimpse of history, after fading off to sleep with the race for our 44th President still tenuous, still undecided, still uncertain. But for many – most in fact – that uncertainty had already given way to feelings of accomplishment, of celebration, of hope. Most of America stayed awake to see history made first-hand, to be a part of this monumental American achievement, to truly be part of The United States of America.
Our nation is a nation defined by an ability to come together. In the face of history’s great challenges and great tragedies, our nation has always relied on what truly makes it great – unity. But it is during these moments of collaborative accomplishment that the concept of unity manifests itself not only as an unbreakable resolve or unwavering determination, but one of true, unabated hope. It’s the difference between a goal and an agenda. It is the difference between a mission and a strategy. It is the difference between an idea and a dream.
For a moment, I believe we as a nation all feel the same passion, pride and purpose that our founding fathers felt when they were plotting the designs for our magnificent country and ultimately, this magnificent accomplishment. We are able, regardless of race or gender, to appreciate and acknowledge the long and difficult struggles faced by the leaders, past and present, of America’s civil and women’s rights movements. For a moment, we are all able to appreciate the importance of this decision. We are able to realize the dreams of so many and to realize that these were not just the dreams of few. Regardless of our individual votes, we will be able to take pride in achieving this moment, able to focus on the collective belief that equal opportunity abounds and that we unite to create the cradle of opportunity for this great nation.
From a political campaign based on bringing change, this moment is more about declaring that such broad change may not necessarily be required. This moment demonstrates that commitment, resolve, and purpose continue to rule the day. That dreams are still alive and that Americans still dare to dream them. This moment asserts that the primary change necessary may be simply changing our belief from that in which hope is a whimsical, childish notion that exists only in fairy tales and history books. In delivering on the promise of hope, this election crushes the notion that our system is broken – that our system is unjust, that our system requires wholesale change.
So relish in the opportunity that this time brings, the opportunity to rebuild our nation’s sense of unity and to rebuild our fundamental faith in our process. It’s about restoring the founding belief that anything is possible, that no goal is unattainable, that we as a nation can truly speak and have our voices heard. It’s about refreshing the tree of liberty; not with the blood of patriots, but with the sweat of our collaborative efforts, and of sustaining the most important of our ideals…”We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…”. It’s an affirmation that our political system, our core principals of opportunity and equality, though not perfect, are intact and even in a world of great turmoil, are more important than ever.
Each of us has a responsibility, a duty to continue to reach for the very ideals we’ve espoused as this campaign has gone on, whether Republican or Democrat, right or left. In this time of uncertainty, we, the people, have a duty to work together to restore faith, to create continued opportunity, to move forward and to facilitate change. Because, for a moment, we are faced with something more powerful than our personal opinions, goals, political affiliations or agendas. In this moment, we are all beneficiaries of a collective accomplishment, beneficiaries of generations upon generations of hard work. It is our duty to ensure that this is an opportunity we continue to provide for our children and for future generations. It is not a time to rest, not a time to relish, not a time to relent. In this moment, we face a challenge as significant as all that have come before it, as all that have come to make this time possible. Failure to address and meet this challenge threatens to undo anything we have collectively accomplished to this point.
For in this moment, we are faced with a reality more real, more fragile, and more powerful than we have seen in a generation.
We are faced with the reality of hope.
Today, given ample measure to digest the divisive rancor and partisanship that accompanied this wave of referendum if not revolution against almost every idealistic principal and value our nation espoused in 2008, my message resonates even more loudly. I find myself calling into question my faith; not in our process, but in our ability to function within that process and to truly move our great nation forward.
So as I move forward with my day today, I’m asking my friends, my readers, my colleagues and fellow citizens to join me in acting less biased, less partisan, less acrimonious. I’m asking you to work together for a common goal, not to drive a deeper wedge by forging ahead under the guise of “change”, “party” or “reform”.
Sadly, given the comments coming out of the Republican party, I don’t think we’re going to see it.
Conversely, the rebuttals offered by the Democratic Party, haven’t given us much hope either.
But, what we can hope for, universally, is that the lessons learned from this election will be those of the power of collaborative effort. We can hope that our politicians are students of political history. We can hope that they realize that periods of political extremism and polarity are best quelled by a return to the center.
The Tea Party, misguided or not, was an organized and united force for change, not much unlike the wave of reform that Barack Obama rode to the White House in 2008.
To quote Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Hopefully, we can all find a way to come together and continue to move this great nation forward.