The following is written by my dear friend Valarie Kaur, writer/producer of the amazing documentary Divided We Fall; Americans in the Aftermath.
I woke up this morning a mess of nerves, and I realized it was because the Iowa caucuses are tonight. I walked along the ocean and prayed hard, and then I realized that perhaps my prayers would be better served if I shared them. I thought I would start with my friends.
My days protesting the war in college left me deeply disillusioned with politics and the political process. In a chance meeting with John Kerry when he was running, I told him this. He told me not to be disillusioned. That still didn't change anything.
For the last year and a half, many of you know I have been traveling with the film all over the country talking to people. All kinds of people. Students, liberals, conservatives, evangelicals, believers, nonbelievers, immigrants, people in the south and the north, white people, black people, and everyone in between. And I discovered I was not alone. Whether in a red state or blue state, a small town or a big city, I heard the same thing -- people are tired. People are tired of war and car bombs and coffins. People are tired of the environment going to hell, terrorist threats, and hearing about how the world hates us. People are tired of hearing how divided we are. And the funny thing is, I began to see how we are all united in this longing -- this ache -- for something better. We are aching for a better country, a country where we can be seen for how we see ourselves. And for personal authentic leadership to take us there.
The cynical part of me believes that this is not possible. It's the same part of me that shrinks away from turning on the news. The part that would rather not hear about the violence in the world than face my own smallness to it. But there is another part of me buried deep inside...
A few weeks ago, I heard Barak Obama speak. With an edge of fatigue in his voice, he spoke with passion and conviction. He spoke about his own impossible journey and his vision of unity. I heard my voice in his voice. He saw what I saw. He wanted what I wanted. His vision was my vision. And he could be president. Despite myself, I began to cry. Had it been this long since I felt any faith that my country could produce a leader who spoke my truths?
I could be wrong. He could not be the one. All I know is that the part of me that was buried is alive and singing. It is the hope in me. It is the dreamer who sings. He could be president. He could change the world. I could change the world.