Monday, January 19, 2009

A Sea of Potential

Sorry to go off topic, but I feel it would be remiss to let this moment pass without saying something. Let it be known that the following statements are my own, and do not represent Cormorant Books Inc. Have a wonderful day. - BJI

On a planet occupied by almost ten billion different human beings, it's unfathomable to believe that not a single one of them is in the process of achieving the noteworthy.

Indeed, extraordinary things are accomplished by people all the time. And yet, for whatever reason, we - you, I, we - continue to accept limitation as a matter of course. Worse, we construct and enforce limitations, upon ourselves and upon others, long before we ever arrive at the edge of what we are capable of.

This, I believe, is the greatest tragedy of our existence. The denial of our right to be the best people we can be.

Which brings us to January 20th.

January 20, 2009, is a day labeled historic, not just for Americans but for the world. If you are cynical, you can consider the day no more or less historic than any other day - and you'd probably have a strong case in your favour. As mentioned above, people accomplish great things all the time. Why should we laud one person's triumph over another's?

I'll tell you why. Because on days like these, days where we all acknowledge that something has changed, a little light goes on in our collective consciousness. That light shines past the edges of the map we all follow, the map that tells us where we can go and what we can do, and reveals that there's still so much more water left to explore; that anywhere, and anything, is possible.

In the long run, Barack Obama's inauguration is not important because of who he is, or what he has done, or what he will do. Legislation can be overturned. Ideologies can be shouted down. And so on. No, Obama's inauguration is important not for who he is, but for what the rest of us have become.

We are now, all of us, people who live in a world unthinkable twenty years ago. Before January the 20th, we were divided into two camps: those who believed there would be a black president in our lifetimes, and those who didn't. Now it doesn't matter what we believe, because we are now all witnesses.

As a minority, I can now have faith: not just in myself to excel, but that others will also believe in me, as long as I give them reason to, and regardless of my name or my eyes or my skin. I can now see how much water there is left, how much farther I can go, and that there is no good reason to ever stop.

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