It is eerily fitting that the author of The Audacity of Hope was written by a man who had the audacity to run for President of the United States of America. One look at the portrait on the cover told you that his chance to be President was roughly equivalent to the proverbial snowball in hell.
And yet somehow we woke up this morning with "a skinny black kid with a funny name" as the next President of the USA. Unbelievable from where I sit!
It wasn't that long ago (70 years) that the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow a "colored" woman to give a concert in their hall. As a side note -- I always find this story the ultimate irony! Women who's ancestors fought and died for freedom actually denying Marian Anderson access to a building! But I digress.
I am old enough to remember Selma and Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act. I am old enough to have heard Martin Luther King voice his dream.
In those dark days it seemed an impossible dream! Just the idea that his "children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" was unfathomable. And yet this morning those children will wake up to a country where their Dad's dream has come true!
My Dad used to say that "we are saved by hope." As a teenager I thought it was perhaps the corniest thing I had ever hears. And yet this morning I can't help but think that he was on to something.
After all. what keeps us going in the face of incredible odds? It is sometimes simply the belief in a positive outcome; the feeling we can get what we want or that at the very least everything will turn out for the best.
Hope brings out the best in all of us. Hope is the sometimes the only thing that gets us out of bed in the morning. Hope is the bedrock of the American Dream. And at least for this moment in time, hope reigns in America.
If you haven't done so yet, do yourself a favor and read Barak Obama's message of hope:
In July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Senator Obama called “the audacity of hope.”
Now, in The Audacity of Hope, Senator Obama calls for a different brand of politics–a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces–from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media–that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.
At the heart of this book is Senator Obama’s vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats–from terrorism to pandemic–that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy–where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories about family, friends, members of the Senate, even the president, is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus.
A senator and a lawyer, a professor and a father, a Christian and a skeptic, and above all a student of history and human nature, Senator Obama has written a book of transforming power. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, he says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes–“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”