Barack Obama mesmerized over 20,000 attendees Tuesday evening at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His vibrancy and charisma offered the belief that together we can recover meaning and purpose for ourselves and our country, restore respect and rebuild community. Obama’s plans to provide college tuition brought cheers and roaring approval when he said the money would have to be repaid in the form of community service, that hard work lay ahead, that sacrifices might have to be made. He uses the inclusive pronoun ‘we’ and speaks of our future together, recovering the light we thought extinguished.
Later that same evening, I read once again, Ben Byer’s extraordinary essay, The Reality of Hope, published on his blog this past Monday. His brilliant tour de force weaves together the political travesty of our times with his physical disintegration, reminding me, once again, how the political climate affects each of our lives. How embryonic stem cell research efforts to find a cure for Parkinson’s, ALS and many other horrific diseases has been polluted and hijacked by the few who consider Monty Python’s “every sperm is sacred” joke a truism.
Locked inside his failing body, Ben’s intelligence and sense of hope for himself and so many others, shines through. Together with Barack’s vision, my own wish for a brighter day might have a chance. We can each become a part of this amazing moment in our history. We don’t have to wander another 40 years in the wilderness.