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Character, class, cooler heads, hope, ability, joy, hard work, cooperation, inclusion.


What a day.

What a country.

It really wasn’t a surprise yesterday to hear a sermon discussing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and our President Elect.  I didn’t really know what to expect out of the sermon (text and audio can be found here), but Anthony came through, as I knew he would.

There was a lot to think about (again, no surprise), so I’ll focus on the main idea I drew from the morning, society and history’s tendency to immortalize our heroes, to rob them of their humanity and foibles, and thus to do them and ourselves a great disservice.

We remember so many people from our past inaccurately.  Or, perhaps not inaccurately, but incompletely.  We see them for one event, or a series of them, and we forget that they were born of a human mother, had slips of the tongue, experienced massive self-doubt and cynicism, and sometimes just screwed up royally.

A story from Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father shared a time when he was overcome by cynicism and overwhelmed by the difficulty of a task, a time when he vowed never to make a speech again.  A friend of his set him straight, basically telling him to get his head out of his rear end and focus on the people who needed help.

Another story told of the Montgomery Bus Strike, and the request put to Dr. King to lead it.  He hesitated, not wanting the responsibility, until set straight and reminded of his abilities and the change he could make by Ralph Abernathy.

The latter story would be shocking to many who stopped to think about it.  THE Dr. M.L. King hesitating over leading a strike?  The event that would essentially launch his leadership of the civil rights movement?  But…that’s so human!

And that’s where we do ourselves and our world a disservice, because here’s the thing: We are all just as capable of making a change in the world as Dr. King or President Elect Obama.  We are all made of the same flesh and bone.  They made mistakes in their lives, and since Mr. Obama has many years ahead of him, he will probably make many more.  Just as we all will.

So, the perfection of our heroes cannot be an excuse on our part not to act for that in which we believe.  It is the responsibility of every one of us to be stewards of our fellow humankind, our planet, and our resources.  “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not smart enough,” and “I’m not a good speaker,” are no longer valid excuses once we realize that every person we idolize was or is as human as we are.

We all have our strengths and our resources and our convictions.  I may not have income to share with needy organizations at the moment, or the focus of mind to organize rallies, but I have a voice and a gift with words (and a blog, and Facebook, and Twitter), so I can share that.  For now, it will be enough.

What are your strengths and resources?  What are your convictions?  How will you use them to carry on the dream of peace, equality, and an end to suffering?

I am making an effort to visualize Barack Obama as our president.  I spend a moment or two each day thinking about the joy that will runneth over on the night of November 4, as it hits home.  On November 5, when I am sure I will be walking on air.  And on January 20, I see him taking the Oath of Office, Michelle at his side, their daughters close by, grinning from ear to ear.  It will be cold that day, but thousands upon thousands will be there to witness this historic moment.  Lastly, I envision eight years of positive change, with President Obama leading us step by step.  Hard work and healthy results for our country, its people, and the world.

I’ve been envisioning this for a few weeks now.  I am choosing to focus on the positive, and when the negative intrudes, I give myself more time for positive visualization.

Whether you call it the power of prayer, the law of attraction, or the power of positivity, this works.  Envisioning the positive helps it become reality.

Today I received an email from a dear friend.  It was sent to her by Lauren, who has created a new website: Manifest Obama, upon which you can see this:

The story of Laren and her husband’s journey to create this video and site is a manifestation of the power of positive thought.  From her email:

About two weeks ago, I got an idea for this site…which would help people visualize Obama being president.  We felt that people seemed to be focusing on what they DIDN’T want, paying alot of attention to the other side’s “low-road” behavior & especially Palin’s shortcomings.  And their poll numbers were going up, b/c so much (negative) attention was focused on them.  We strongly believe that “what you focus on grows” – we’ve seen this over & over again in our lives & the world around us – and wanted to help ourselves & our friends change our focus to what we DO want.  Which is peace, prosperity, leadership, hope & change – all possible if Obama wins on November 4th.

It seemed very improbable 2 weeks ago that we could find time in our seriously overcommitted schedules to make any kind of viral video or website.  Where would we get any compelling footage – wandering around downtown Asheville?  Who would make the video – we don’t know anything about videography – and make it something worth watching?  How would we find the time & resources to get this thing done?  But we just had a sense that it was going to happen somehow, and decided not to focus on the questions, but instead to visualize it being complete.

Things started “magically” falling into place – Jamie’s scheduled barbershop chorus competition last weekend got canceled, so I had time to work on it; Patrick Scully – Jamie’s dear buddy, boss & graphic design genius – had an unexplainable hole in his production schedule; he had just bought a digital video camera he lent us.  Then Obama announced he would be preparing for the second debate IN ASHEVILLE of all places and would be speaking at a rally that weekend.  Who were we to question at that point?  We packed up the kids and got in line 5 and a half hours before the speech, with video camera in hand.

The energy at the rally was unlike anything I’ve experienced.  People smiling, making friends, comparing stories about why we’re so energized, and admitting we’ve never been so devoted to any political cause in our lives.  The emotion was palpable.  When Obama finally took the stage, with an estimated 28 thousand supporters packed in & around Asheville High football field, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place.  It was a day that all six of us will always remember.

She goes on to talk about staying up most of the night editing, her husband building the website, etc.  I don’t know them, but I’m so proud of them!  This is the power of the people, brought to life.

President Barack Obama!

My boys

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