6.06.2008

overcoming "impossible"

As you've probably heard by now, Barack Obama has become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, with results from this week's final primaries in Montana and South Dakota pushing him over the threshold of winning the 2,118 delegates needed for the nomination: Obama Clinches Nomination; First Black Candidate to Lead a Major Party Ticket. It looks like Senator Hillar Rodham Clinton has finally decided to throw in the towel: Clinton Ready to End Bid and Endorse Obama. I'm pretty happy about this.

In the spirit of hope, progress, and "change we can believe in," here's a nicely-written opinion piece by Edward Y. Lee in The Harvard Crimson: Overcoming "Impossible". Heck, I like it so much, I'll just reprint it here:
Overcoming "Impossible"
Published On Wednesday, June 04, 2008 12:48 AM
By EDWARD Y. LEE

Before our swim meets, my high school swim coach would often say, “Close your eyes and just imagine.” Imagine crouching low on the starting blocks as you wait for the starting gun. Imagine standing on the winners' platform with your medal draped around your neck. If it's possible now in your mind, he'd tell us, it's possible in the pool.

It is our ability to dream that puts the impossible within our reach. Our hopes, our aspirations, our own narratives—they weave like strands into the very fabric of our life stories and our outlook on the future. For me, it is the power of these life stories that drew me to politics. My mother's selfless sacrifice to provide her two sons with endless opportunities inspired me to service. Recently, Senator Barack Obama's mission to change the way politics is run encouraged me to become involved in politics for the first time. Moreover, my own experience working on Senator Obama's campaign showed me that our politics have the potential to inspire and empower rather than divide and discourage.

My story begins with my mother's improbably quest to achieve the American Dream. In 1985, my mother immigrated to the United States from South Korea. She knew very little English and had little money. The accomplishments, the status, the connections that she had back home meant nothing here. The college degree for which she labored so hard in Korea was useless. So, my mother started all over as she held on to a simple conviction—that with determination, she would be able to provide her two sons the opportunities these new shores had to offer. At the age of 29, she enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Washington and worked the evening shift at a retail jewelry store. She came home from school and work every day to take care of her family and to work on her own problem sets and papers.

As she juggled her many responsibilities, she never failed to read my brother and me stories before she tucked us into bed. These weren't simply fairy tales—they weren't just Dr. Seuss, Disney, or Humpty Dumpty. She also read us biographies—stories about JFK's hope for a better America, Abraham Lincoln's vision for a unified nation, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s fight for a nation healed and restored. And each night as I fell asleep listening to the dream of Dr. King, his dream became my own. His vision for the future seeped into my own understanding about what was possible. Just as my mother would go on to receive her Ph.D. and become a professor, she invoked these stories to teach me that with faith and determination, anything is possible.

My mother's example showed me that we must not become complacent with the world as it is, but rather we must envision the world as it should be. During the summer and fall of 2007, I took a leave of absence from college to work for the Obama campaign on the New Hampshire New Media team. As I blogged and edited videos of his daily events, I watched him draw people of all backgrounds. It was their stories that strengthened my faith in Obama's ability to transform this nation. It was the wife of a war veteran who held signs at rallies so that no other solder would share her husband's fate. It was the cancer patient who made phone calls to make sure that all Americans had affordable health care. It was the senior citizen who canvassed for hours in the pouring rain to ensure that his grandchildren would have a better future. Through them, I found that the things that bind us are greater than what divides us.

Senator Obama is a leader who unifies this country around its common values. He is a visionary who will lead and reshape the nation rather than simply mend it. His candidacy is our chance to restore this simple dream for generations to come and imagine a better tomorrow. We imagine a future where our bold young men and women are no longer shipped overseas to fight a war that should never have been waged. We imagine a future in which senior citizens no longer have to cut pills and forgo medicine in order to afford their healthcare. We imagine a future in which we can save our planet and end our dependence on foreign oil. We imagine a future in which we can reclaim the American Dream for all people, of all religions, of all economic status, of all sexual orientations and all racial identities. Ultimately, Obama inspires us to realize that these desirable ends can only be accomplished if we come together as one nation.

As graduates walk across the stage this week to commemorate their time at Harvard, they turn the page of their own life stories. They imagine the endless opportunities to change the world and write the next great chapter of American history. Society is sure to meet these hopes with cynicism. Pundits are sure to embrace a politics of “No you can't.” They will surely posit that such dreams are na├»ve and irrational.

But that's what hope is for. The same hope that led my mother to cross an ocean to start all over. The same hope that millions of Americans continue to believe in as they imagine a brighter future. The same hope that Senator Obama has to offer all Americans. This is the hope that we as graduates must hold strong to. It is the ingredient that has brought us this far. And it is the fuel that moves us closer to the impossible.

Close your eyes and just imagine; because if it is possible now in your minds, it is possible out there.
Pretty inspiring—reminds me a bit of Obama, actually. Can we expect to see a future for Edward in politics? In any case, it looks like he and I both know who we'll be voting for come November. Yes we can.

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