I am more than happy to see Obama back on his game and in what looks like the homestretch in what has been a grueling horserace—for the candidates and the public. I am committed to Obama because I believe, along with a lot of other people, that he is sincere in his commitment to unite the nation and that he has demonstrated his capacity to stand for something beyond politics-as-usual. I have said on more than one occasion how sad it’s been to watch the fracture of our nation and our communities in the wake of the "neo-conservative" tide and President Bush’s consistent and constant disregard for any policy or initiative other than what benefits corporate business interests.
Now we have a candidate who speaks with eloquence and passion FOR something more than power and money. A year ago, I had not given him a serious thought and was building enthusiasm for another round with the Clinton team. Over the past months, I have come to believe that she would be just as divisive as Bush has been—the other side of the coin. For the first time in my life, I contributed the maximum allowed to Obama and have gotten to know some of his team and even offered to put my business on hold to help if there were something I could do to assist in his election.
In the context of Serene Ambition, however, I think Obama stands for a new generation of leaders. I think he embodies the kind of vision and passion that is needed to navigate increasingly unpredictable and dangerous waters. But I also think that he will need the sage counsel and wisdom of our generation, and that he is both open and eager to seek it. Those in our generation should embrace his youth and set aside any arrogant belief that we know the answers to the world’s problems. No one does. The problems we face are so complex, intractable and potentially fatal as to defy simple answers and sound bites. Obama has said this on more than one occasion. He knows (and at some level we know) that the system is in big trouble and if America is to avoid pursuing a self-destructive path we MUST stop and clarify our values and priorities.
Just as when a marriage gets in trouble, we need to distinguish between our differences and our higher commitments. Do we value our relationship and the possibility we are for each other more than we insist on being right about our point of view? American democracy is based on majority rule and TRUSTING that our leaders represent us. The system works on an ethic of collaboration between interests—not conflict, damnation and contention. The system also works based on individual responsibility for the whole—a way of being Obama demonstrated in his speech following the Reverend Wright controversy.
Our nation stands as a possibility of self-determination and rule of law for the world. Václav Havel once said in a speech to the graduating law class at Stanford that American constitutional democracy is perhaps the last hope of mankind because it is the only system that is designed to change itself based on the will of the people. But he said that it can become destructive and even evil when it ceases to be a system and becomes an ideology. We have seen over the past 8 years what can happen when we turn democracy into an ideology and resort to force to achieve our objectives. Force negates power and destroys possibility.
Now we have an opportunity to elect someone who stands for higher ideals and who, so far, has "walked the talk". He knows and has said that he isn’t going to do it alone and the Democrats can’t do it alone. I call on every American to get behind Obama in November and to vote for the man and not continue the ideological schism that has emerged in our families and communities over the past 8 years. I beseech each and every one of us to see Obama and what he stands for as the possibility of a future in which we stand united. Because we can be sure that if we don’t, then, as the saying goes, “Divided we shall fall”.