That was the theme of the Democratic National Convention last night as Obama took the stage for the biggest speech of his life. A minor thing but as my Obama-blogging friend Sam pointed out-- that line begins with my three initials... Coincidence??
After the second performance of Sexual Perversity in Chicago at the WHAT Harbor Stage a few of us went over to my friend Siri's house for an impromptu viewing party. My very old friend (and the director of SPC) Brendan Hughes came, as did the actor Lewis Wheeler. Siri's younger brother and sister were also there and we watched the coverage completely rapt in almost total silence for over an hour. We got excited about all the different viewing parties that were being shown (Times Square had the look and energy of a typical New Year's there) and were delighted that people of all ages, classes, ethnicities seemed to be energized by Obama's words the way sports fans might watch the Superbowl or cinephiles-- the Oscars. But this is neither sport nor entertainment-- there is an aspect of each... but this is MUCH more serious than that.
I was so thrilled by all of the points Obama raised, his elegant tone, the nitty-gritty of his policies and the McCain attacks he anticipated and gracefully shot down. I loved his charisma and his warmth and his passion. Brendan was saying he is like a cross between JFK and Abraham Lincoln and I like that idea. Most of all, I trust him. And really, that is the most important thing. When he spoke so eloquently about the complexities of race politics in that speech in Philadelphia I was amazed at his unbelievable (and sometimes rare in men, much less politicians) ability to see the multitudinous sides of a thing, different and valid perspectives, different motivations, generations of ignorance/patterned behavior, etc. Again last night I felt like his recognition of how our different life circumstances inform our different hopes/desires/needs from our leaders and our government. [When he talked about how a hunter would have different ideas about gun control than city dwellers threatened by gun violence, etc...] His understanding of America is incredibly-nuanced and as such his record and his ideas for the future are exactly what this country needs right now. Not only for our domestic policies but for international diplomacy and America's street cred as a great and generous nation... Obama and Biden are our ticket.
Most of all the message that resounded with me last night was about compassion. We might not always be perfect, we might not always be at the top of our game, but we must ALWAYS be compassionate. We must help each other, and treat each other with respect and dignity, and look out for the future of our children and our planet.
Brendan has a one-man show that he has been working on and performing weekly out here in Wellfleet called Oomphalos. [Last show this Saturday at 9pm, what.org] I saw it last week and I loved it. One of the major points Brendan touches on in the show is also about compassion. He shares tons of facts and philosophy with us, and a fair share of personal history-- and makes us laugh and makes us pluck rubber bands that give the sensation of our heart strings reverberating... and he shares his wonderful world view. He says if the 20th century is about ideas and great inventions and the like... the 21st century must be about how we treat each other and our planet.
Last week he also made a video that he showed as it was indeed the fateful anniversary... and I think it will make you laugh and think a little bit.