Saturday, February 14, 2009


It is another valentines day, the midwinter gasp of optimism. Realizing that I have spent too many of these alone, I decided it was time to change my approach. We are on the tip of a new era, and the time had come to reach out to a group recently rejected, the great karma rebound if you will.

I decided to ask out a Republican.

She was an Ann Coulter type blond with pearly white teeth that are rather sharp. For Halloween last year she dressed as Sarbanes Oxley, because she figured that would really scare people. She is now a banker in between investments, a growing group that threatens to bring the rest of the country into its vortex. My hope was that in her season of waiting for the return of the capital markets she would let love trickle down.

Even though she is much younger than I (a weakness of mine), I knew I had to study to talk to her. Krugman was quite good for economic counterbalance and the words of Andrew Sullivan helped expand my notion of conservatism. During our dinner as I did my best to ignore her racially inappropriate jests, I thought about her at pillow side and whether in the morning she would read the Wall Street Journal in bed. It was a personal stimulus package.

We wandered back to my apartment to watch John Stewart. He made fun of the democrats which she, loved and I enjoyed sharing the warmth of the couch. When the show was over she got up to leave, and we paused for a moment in the hallway.

There is currently a lawsuit about whether a photograph of Obama is art, but I think that misses that his true muse is being a writer. In that quiet moment I wanted to whisper to her his words:

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change. We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come.

We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.

And when I looked at her I wanted to go on that we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America's story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea.

And it was that moment in the hallway as I stood full of hope and promise that I heard her own three words that have been told for centuries on dates from around the world:

“Let’s be friends.”