“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” Amy Fast @fastcranny
In 2008 when I heard that Barack Obama would be the next president of the United States, I sat quietly with my wife and daughter and savored the meaning of the moment.
I was filled with the spirit of the possibilities the future held. I had no idea what kind of leader our new president would be, but the faces of the masses gathered on election night 2008 shouted hope in a way I had never seen.
I saw how much the moment meant to people who could not hold back their tears -- and I shared that.
I saw joy on the faces of so many who were experiencing a long-deferred dream fulfilled -- and I shared that.
That night I felt free to dream a little higher, hope a little longer, believe a little deeper.
Fast forward 2016
As I watched Donald Trump become the next president of the United States I again, sat quietly with my wife and daughter. This time the meaning of the moment was too mind-numbing to comprehend.
Once again, I saw the faces of many Americans filled with the spirit of the possibilities the future holds, but my family sat silent, stoic, stupefied.
Last night the promise of a new day in America was fulfilled, but we there was no “morning in America” feeling sweeping our home. Instead, we were consumed with a tsunami of questions:
-- Van Jones started the wave: How do we explain this to our children? “We told them don’t be a bully, don’t be a bigot, do your homework and now this outcome. How do we explain this to our kids?”
-- How do we explain this to our peers? What do we say to those who believe that being kind, humble, self-effacing, transparent, thoughtful, respectful, emotionally mature, magnanimous and relentlessly positive are the qualities of great leaders?
-- How do we explain this to ourselves? If so many of us were so wrong about what really matters in America, what other axioms, canons, and fixed ideas do we hold that may need to be updated or abandoned?
But wait, there's more...
-- What kind of America has now emerged?
-- Was last night a giant step backward or forward?
-- What are our authentic guiding principals?
-- How will the rest of the world respond?
-- Can the grand promises made be fulfilled?
-- What now?
Moment of Truth
There is ample evidence that many of us have been disconnected from reality, on many levels, for a very long time. This is a delusion-busting moment of truth. For decades, our nation has been fiercely divided about what America is, what America can be and should be in the world. We’ve been telling each other radically different stories about what's really happening in this country and why. We've been increasingly fragmented about our values, about what matters most, and about how to govern our nation.
The champions of one vision for America now have nearly absolute authority to execute their ideas for the country. The earsplitting, gut-wrenching, tortuous debates about the best way forward will now finally be settled by action.
All the claims, the promises, the declarations, the projections and faith that Americans have placed in this vision and its champions will now face the ultimate test. We are going to learn a lot about our leaders, our neighbors, and ourselves.
All eyes around the world will be watching.
On the question, what do we tell our kids? We tell them the truth: Life is messy, humanity is full of contradictions, I don't have all the answers, but I have faith that tomorrow will be better.