After watching the video of "Yes, We Can", posted on a couple of UU blogs today (thank you, Jess and Adam), I came to the startling realization that I am afraid to hope, in this election. I would never have thought of myself as a person who is afraid to hope. I see hopefulness all around me; I say yes to people who want to try new things; I anticipate spring; I think of myself as a hopeful person.
But when I watched the video and wanted with all my heart to buy into the dream that is Barack Obama as President of the United States, I realized that what was holding me back is the fear that the dream will be destroyed.
I am a person who, in my lifetime, has experienced the physical assassination of John Kennedy, of Robert Kennedy, of Martin Luther King, Jr., of Malcolm X, and the political assassination of countless others who dared to put themselves out there for change.
I have seen with my own eyes the murderous acts of political thugs, whether they used bullets or bullet points to end lives. I do not want that to happen to Barack Obama as it has happened to so many others. I do not want his body riddled with bullets or his character torn to shreds by gossipy accusations.
Hillary Clinton is a walking wounded woman; she has been the target of so much anger and accusation that she has developed a skin thicker than a rhinoceros, a characteristic that her enemies can and do attack. If she wins the election, she will govern with that thick skin and we will see the effect of cruel treatment borne out in her presidency, for good or for ill.
If Barack Obama wins the election, what will happen? Will the dream come to fruition? Or will it die a violent death, either at the hands of an enemy armed with a weapon or at the words of an enemy armed with an accusation? I am afraid to hope for the best after all that has happened.
And yet, in him I see the idealism and courage that seemed to die with my dead heroes, Jack, Bobby, Martin, Malcolm. Can it be that their spirits have come back to invigorate a young man's quest for a dream for America, a dream that held such promise years ago?
I need you young people to give me hope, to help me see that, even though there are no guarantees that the dream won't die, the promise is enough to go on, that whatever change comes because of this election, hope won't die. You are our future. I am counting on you to choose a future that I can't envision, a future of freedom and integrity in this nation. Help me. Please.