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2008-11-05 - 8:41 a.m.

... "the fierce urgency of Now."...

This morning I am still full of elation, joyful tears, and hope.

Four years ago, I wrote the following entry. It is sobering to read those words again, and to relive the feelings of frustration and impotence that I had. It is especially sobering to realize that if anything the problems got WORSE rather than better.

But some things might be better - yesterday I couldn't help re-reading the words of Dr. King. and feel a surge of hope:

"With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

And if I just squint a little when I look at the blues and reds on the US map, the place looks like it might be purple after all. Our country feels a little less divided.


I've been thinking about the future, and the work that the US faces, and I think of this poignant story from my mother.

Last January, when I gave birth to Susi, my mother came to visit, and she found herself taking taxis to and from the hospital to visit her new granddaughter. I've already mentioned what an interesting person my mother is. She had just read a fascinating book on immigration in the United States: Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them by Philippe Legrain.

My mother found herself chatting with every taxi driver she met, asking them questions about their lives. Of the ten or so taxi drivers she met, none of them had been born in Canada. And so she asked them, and listened to their answers. "Where are you from?" "How long have you lived in Canada" "What was your job before you came to Canada?" "Are you glad you came to Canada?" and most importantly, "Do you feel Canadian?"

My mother has the ability to draw people out, and many of these taxi drivers gave her some very thoughtful answers. The majority of them would not have changed their decision to come here. The majority of them did not feel accepted as Canadians. Some felt the pains of racism. Others missed their home countries.

The most interesting answer came when one of the drivers started talking with her about the USA. He wasn't satisfied in Canada, but he felt he was better off than his relatives in the US. He summed it up with beautiful and poignant analogy. He took off his watch and held it up for my mother to see:

"Do you see this watch? It is a beautiful thing. So much work has gone into making it. So many people working on so many intricate little details. It is precise. And the product of years of learning and engineering. And it is a beautiful thing."

And then he made an abrupt gesture and said "I can destroy this watch in one second by slamming it against this car door and dropping it. It is a lot of work to build something beautiful. And it can be destroyed just like that. THAT is what Bush has done to your country."

Sometimes taxi drivers can be very wise..

The hope is now, and the work is ahead.

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