Why I Remain Hopeful That Change Will Come To America
Even with all his Republican and Tea Party detractors President Obama has accomplished much in his 6 years so far
I sincerely wish you could see what I’m seeing right now.
As I’m writing this particular Op-Ed entry, I’m sitting on an Amtrak train – with the lush and scenic Northern Virginia countryside to my left and to my right. I wish you could hear what I’m listening to right now. I’m streaming a perfect musical soundtrack through my mobile device. The weather outside is gorgeous – blue sky, white cumulus clouds, and sunlight to spare. I wish you could feel what I’m feeling right now. I’m well-rested, happy, healthy, and expecting a great day today. In terms of the bigger picture, I’m encouraged because the state of our union is strong. Brighter days are ahead. Change is coming.
I’m sure at least some of you are shaking your head in disdain at that last sentence. Some of you might be jaded or frustrated. I get it. I understand. When you get disappointed enough times in life, it’s very easy to lower your expectations to the point that disappointment is all you expect. The same is true of sadness, anger, or mistrust. Deep down inside, you want to believe. You need to believe that something better is possible. But you just don’t want to be let down. Again.
Watching our leaders in Washington is what it must be like to be a Chicago Cubs fan. Every spring, the members of Cub nation somehow muster up the courage to believe that someway – somehow – this year will be different. This will be the year the Cubbies do what they haven’t done since 1905; win a World Championship. History tells you they won’t. Statistics tell you they can’t. Against all odds, injuries, and common sense, Cub fans believe. They attend the games. They cheer. And they wait with superhuman patience for change to come.
The Republican Party hasn’t always been this way. The current party of no used to be the party of action. The Grand Ole Party used to be the party of inclusion, not the party of exclusion. It used to exist to combat slavery, human trafficking, injustice, and poverty. It was once the bastion of hope for African-Americans and all minorities. It should be mentioned that the NAACP was founded by Black members of the Republican Party. I don’t know why today’s Republicans intentionally disavow such a long, distinguished, and honorable past. I wish I did. Here’s the thing, though: if any institution, individual, or group has ever achieved greatness in the past; greatness can again be achieved in the present. In the future. This is why I love Republicans. This is why I pray for Republicans who wouldn’t dare to pray for me. I want the GOP to be great again. A vibrant Republican Party fully engaged in governance, consensus, and compromise when needed would mean a stronger America.
The Democratic Party hasn’t always been this way. The current party of diversity used to be the party of division. The Democrats used to be the party of segregation, not the party of integration. It used to exist to defend the institution of slavery – and the human trafficking, civil injustice, social subservience and abject poverty slavery spawned. It was once the bane of existence for African-Americans and all minorities. It cannot be forgotten mentioned that the most radical Democrats – referred to then as “Dixiecrats” – advocated for the separation of the races even to the extent of violence. As recently as 50 years ago, it would have been extremely difficult to find a person of color who considered himself or herself to be a Democrat. What a difference 50 years make. The Democrats understandably don’t want to tout such a long, vociferous, and dishonorable past. Here’s my take: any institution, individual, or group with no past has no future. Intolerance once embraced can be re-embraced.
This is why I love Democrats. This is why I pray for Democrats who may or may not agree with me. I want the Democrats to keep striving for greatness. A robust Democratic Party fully dedicated to engagement, innovation, and compromise when necessary would mean a greater U.S. of A.
Symbolically, this train I’m on is taking me to a better place, more beautiful place. I’m headed to a different locale. It’s a change of scenery. America needs that, too.
I don’t know how God is going to do it, but change is coming. I don’t know when it will happen, but change is coming. I don’t know if the Democrats or the Republicans will lead the way; but I won’t care as long as it happens. Somehow, someday, some way, America is going to come together.
Against all odds, insults, and common sense, this American fan believes. I will watch. I will engage. And I will wait with steadfast hope for change to come.