Today is a perfect day to remind ourselves that our personal destinies are not determined in Washington DC.
For the past 244, years we the people have been learning and re-learning the lessons and limitations of our founders, who dedicated their lives to the pursuit of democracy. That we hold their ideals close to our hearts, while admitting we have a long way to go to fulfil those ideals, brings us together as Americans.
I am a citizen, not a partisan. I understand that our votes are consequential, but they are not what moves society forward. We create that society every day, all 330 million of us, with our individual choices. I believe most of us have the scope to do more in our personal lives to create the world we want to live in than anything decided at 30,000 feet.
Individual empowerment is real and truly important. But I could not (nor can most of us, I suspect) achieve the outcomes I desire on my own. I learned the hard way to converse more, to learn more, and to trust more in others than I was accustomed to doing. That allowed me to benefit from the talent and goodwill of the people around me. And not just those with goodwill. Many came to me from left field with painful lessons to offer. I learned from them too—perhaps most of all—and am indebted to them for explaining to me how little I understood. ALL of them helped me to realize that I can do a lot to create the world I want to live in.
Speaking of creative power, the artists behind Playing for Change said it all. Their message is incredible, inspiring, and empowering. Music is an accessible example that the great achievements of human society never came from politicians.