It is strange to be able to pinpoint the unleashing of such a powerful, cultural force in our society to one precise moment in time. But the day that America's unraveling fabric was exposed was the day that McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate on Friday, August 29th, 2008.
The echoes across Invesco Field had barely subsided on the closing night of the Democratic National Convention, before a force more powerful than we have seen in recent history was unleashed in one swift PR moment. The announcement awoke our nation. Regardless of party lines or socioeconomic status, the American public rose up as human emotions quickly surfaced, replacing the apathy, numbness and detachment that had become all too pervasive in our society. In response to one singular announcement, all of us responded.
No sooner had the candidate been revealed, than we began revealing our deepest emotions - how we felt about discrimination, our rights to choose, our aspirations and our fears. And while Professor Obama delivered his oration to throngs of believers the night before, Soldier McCain delivered a bullet that may one day appear to be the most devastating blow or the most successful shot in the history of our country.
The announcement ripped into the heart of all of us, causing an intensely personal introspection that none of us were looking for. We were confronted with our own inadequacies, as shortcomings were revealed. We came face to face with our own half truths, as hypocrisies were exposed. And we suddenly remembered who we are and what we believe in and what is worth fighting for. And we rose up.
Through the heartache of lives lost, both on the military field and in doctors' offices, we found our voices. And despite our failures and shortcomings, we found our passions.
Sarah Palin, her story conflicting with her persona, revealed a hypocrisy found in all of us. We saw a part of ourselves in a woman who somehow reflected the views of no single American, but at the same time, managed to serve as a mirror in front of all of our faces. And it became personal, because there we stood, exposed.
And we seized the moment.
We realized that we can no longer expect one person, one party, to be able to return our country to its former greatness, giving our children what they so rightly deserve. We suddenly realized that it is up to us to serve our country, showing courage and leadership at home, in the media and in our own communities. We awoke to full awareness that while we can hope for change in Washington, from Washington, and to Washington, we must inspire change at home.
Now is our time. And in this intense moment, apathy is no longer an option. We must find our voices and be the change that we want to see in own communities. Perhaps then, and only then, will Washington follow.