Well - following the election drought, we are finally getting our Obama fix once again. I can't remember such anticipation and feeling of hope and optimism surrounding a political (or any) event. The excitement is quickly building to fever pitch ... and we are holding our collective breath to see how it will culminate and where it will lead. Are we setting our expectations so high that neither the inauguration nor the presidency could possibly meet them?
I think not! Humankind is thirsty for optimism and hope; for a reason to go on; a reason to dream. We are ready to believe that the impossible is possible; that the monumental challenges and problems facing our humanity and planet can be solved by our collective knowledge, creativity, energy and desires. That the broken can be repaired or reinvented. The common denominator here is the concept of the “collective”. Barack Obama’s speeches and addresses are riddled with references to “we”, “us”, “everyone” and “all”. He is inclusive. He is a beacon of hope for the disenfranchised, the outsiders and the sideliners. He is a symbol of the best of humanity – diverse, dignified, exemplary, intelligent, imperfect, grounded … I could go on forever.
A leader is someone people want to follow. Let’s face it – there is a presidential machine that can conduct the business of the president. But I have always felt the importance of a leader – a president or prime minister – is their ability to have and communicate a vision that unifies; who inspires others and moves society to create a better version of itself. A leader must light the fire in hearts and mobilize nations.
This morning I sit anchored to my TV watching Obama board the train to his future. If you asked me why tears flowed down my cheek, I couldn’t answer. All I know is that my heart is full, my emotions are running high to overflowing, and that my faith in humankind is renewed. I am hopeful. I believe. And this shiny new leader is a beacon of hope to me and many.