Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. We are the hope of those boys who have so little, who’ve been told that they cannot have what they dream, that they cannot be what they imagine. Yes, they can. -Barack Obama
I know. I know. You see Mr. President’s name up there and you want to wail in grief at all of the broken promises. But, for just one moment, please, I implore you to put aside your disappointment and your jadedness. I, too, share this disappointment and this sense of betrayal, but there is something else here that we may not see when the scales are over our eyes.
I would not argue with critics when they say that Obama has not done the job that he promised to do. There is some (or perhaps much) truth to that. But, have we, as a nation, put too much faith in our elected officials? They are merely there to represent the voice of the people and yet we often expect them to completely govern us as if we have lost the ability to do so ourselves. Now, to be fair, perhaps it is because for so long, they’ve boasted about how they could do just that, and often, they have done just that, and we’ve let it happen.
But, perhaps Obama was wiser than some of us care to admit. After all, if he would have acted more firmly and prosecuted the Wall Street crooks, if he would have pushed harder on healthcare, if he would have stopped trying to be the eternal compromiser, we likely would not see such a mobilization of the people.
While this time in our history as a nation is certainly a dreary time, the humanity that has been rekindled in us, as a society, the spirit that has reminded us that we are flesh and blood and not made up of microchips and metal is an invaluable lesson. It has come at a great cost, the burden of which is strapped to the backs of those with the least. But, this is the greatest awakening of our time.
Before this collective rebirth, we stopped leading each other. We lost our collective voice. We turned our entire lives into an economic equation to be solved and stuffed our hearts further into our chest cavities. We used industrial rationalization to make nearly every decision in our lives and all we ended up in was a giant iron cage. So, while Obama is not known for his overt leadership style, usually, I think it’s fair to say that he’s given us a gift that no other American leader has done on this mass scale. And that gift is the drive and the need to be leaders ourselves.
Many of us have taken our freedom for granted. We have forgotten what it was to fight for liberty. Or perhaps, some of us have never known what it was like at all, because we grew up privileged, either by class, sex, or the color of our skin. But, this showing of humanity, this showering of strife that we are learning to wade through is teaching us what the removal of freedom is like. It has taught us that silence is capable of destroying our liberties. And so we will learn more in these moments than we ever have before, as a nation. And for this, I thank our President and every single other official in our government that has not been the leader they claimed to be.