I’ve kept silent in this hellish political season. That’s a hard thing for a journalist/attorney to do. I’ll admit I was unsure until last night but the light bulb went off as President Obama addressed the Democratic Convention.
I remember that night in 2004 when he first took the national stage. I was mesmerized by his forceful, infectious optimism, not yet tarnished by the corroding abrasion of Washington lawmakers. If you remember, his message was one of hope.
Well, a lot has happened since then. America is living under a cloud of fear. The fear of parents who can’t imagine how they’ll pay for college for their child; the fear of grandparents who don’t turn on the lights because they can’t afford the bill; the fear of children who see friends shot in the safe harbor of a school and the fear of teens who see heroin as a cheap Saturday night. Fear has grabbed hold of the black population, scared to send their young men for a container of milk and cops operating under a trigger point state of paranoia for their lives.
History has shown us what fear can do to a population. History in our time and not in the dusty books of a university library. Fear is palpable all around us.
The two candidates who saw that fear in our eyes took the baton and ran to places we never imagined. One who continues to ply that fear and the other whose burn to change it fell short.
Only Americans can change this malaise, this anxiety-ridden cloud that is suffocating us faster than a swath of disease-carrying mosquitoes on a stagnant pond. We are choking with fear. We long for the security of a country that can protect us, rather than a country who is chided and viewed with derision on the global stage. We long for the days when we could send our kids out on a summer night to play safely in the streets without fear of random gunfire. We long for the day when bankruptcy was the taboo and not the norm for every other American. We are Americans. We hope, we dream that our best days are still ahead. Our eternal optimism is what makes us stand out and what makes us strong in this world. That is precisely what makes us Americans.
If we, as Americans, are going to win in November, the candidates need to take our fears seriously, not ignore them. Listen to what the fear mongers are saying and give us a concrete path to tomorrow. That’s the only way to win the election. That’s the only way to tip the numbers in our favor.
Of course we are afraid. It’s a scary world but baseless propaganda which panders to that is not the solution. You’ve got this America, now get out and do something about it and vote. It is your birthright! It is our future.
If you want change……….we’ve come this far……..after 240 years of male leadership, why not let women take the lead!