Obama's Hope

>     Last night I listened and
watched both Barack Obama and John McCain give “victory” speeches
following the primary votes in Maryland, Virginia and the District of
Columbia. The contrast was stunning. And while I
continue to have my hesitations about Barack Obama, mostly around his
lack of experience and relationship to Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Jr.,
there is no denying that the content and delivery of Obama’s speech was
stirring. He has a gift for using language and passion in a way that
inspires and uplifts. These are qualities for which Americans are
hungry and this, I believe, is the core of his appeal.
night he spoke about “hope.” I find it fascinating that former
President Bill Clinton, husband of Obama’s rival for the nomination,
also rode to the Presidency on the same word. It was Bill Clinton’s
“The Man From Hope” carefully produced video retrospective of his life
(referring to Hope, Arkansas where he was born) that moved and inspired
many. But the hope that Bill Clinton held out was a Hollywood
orchestrated production lacking in a core truth that ultimately gave us
a national scandal and deep disillusionment of character.
    The hope
that Barack Obama spoke to last night was the real thing. It wasn’t a
play on words or a political web he was weaving to obscure the truth of
the matter. The hope he spoke of reaches into the heart and uplifts the
Soul. It is the hope that enlivens people and makes them want to be the
best they can be. He isn’t promising anything other than that each of
us will have to be fully engaged and part of the solution.
Obama is laying out the recipe for change, although there are many who
are missing what is being set before them. I hear them in the media every day,
talking about his lack of policy or, worse, his disastrous policies. We
have had leaders with great policies in theory who could neither
inspire nor lead. In the end, I do not think these criticisms will be
enough to obstruct his path to the White House. At the moment, he is a
man on a mission who appears to have a destiny.
    There are two common theories about leadership. The first is that great men (and hopefully someday women) lead
the governed where they  see a nation wanting to go. The second is that
people get the leader they deserve…one that reflects the times. Under
either theory, Barack Obama’s rise is encouraging. If nominated and
elected, the challenge for him will be to keep nourishing the seeds of
hope that he now speaks to and engenders. Faced with the realities of
the world and the temptations of power, this itself is a daunting task.
    I am heartened by Obama’s presence and the vision he paints. We as
a nation have, in many way, misplaced hope. It is important to be inspired and reminded of all that is possible when one puts their heart and soul
into creating something good.
    What Obama is reminding us is that each one of us is an aspect of a greater One. He bears the message that when we as individuals are joined by both heart and purpose we can, together, co-create something greater than the sum of our parts.
    This has always been this nation’s message.
    Now, let us hope.

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