The most powerful word in my vocabulary is “I” followed by “am.” You know as in “I am, somebody,” or “I am, black;” “I am, a woman; ”“I am, a daughter, a mother, a grandmother;” “I am, an American citizen;” “I am, a fill-in-the-blank.”
The power of those words, spoken out loud or, just as a thought, is that they force me to focus on the present-the here and now.
I have been reflecting on the place I am right now- not yesterday, when “I was,” or tomorrow when “I am going to be.”
“I am” keeps me in the moment.
Lately, the news has had me wondering about what it all means to just be me in the moment; i.e., all of the above.
Take for instance, the recent announcement that Obama is the 2015 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize- again. It is a bogus announcement, but imagine that it did happen.
The first time around, in 2009, some folk rose up in protest because they surmised that he had not yet done anything noteworthy toward advancing peace. He had only been in office for one year, they scoffed. Naysayers, they were living in the future.
The prize committee, in their wisdom, saw that in the moment of his election, his position as holder of the highest office in the world as President of the United States of America, was, in itself, a symbolic victory for bringing more peace to the world. It was an in-the-moment decision.
Over the past seven years, Obama has done just that-fostered more peace- even under the rise of global terror- and in another moment of thoughtful and profound insight by the Committee, has been rewarded with the prize again.
In the moment.
I’ll venture to guess that Serena Williams played the best game she could on last Friday; staying in the moment against a 300 to 1 odds on favorite. She did not let her game mind stray toward the future Grand Slam prize. She as much said so when she complimented Vinci on playing out of her mind to take away her opportunity for another title.
But I must admit that in this moment, I’m finding it difficult to reconcile what the Nobel Prize committee has done with Obama, and the rise of “The Donald”.
I wrestle with how the weight and gravitas of the universal peace symbol, twice awarded to Barack Obama, can ever inure to Donald J. Trump.
Like you and the rest of the country, I’ve been closely ‘following’ the emergence of Trump as the Republican front runner as that party’s candidate for President of the U.S.
While Trump’s rise has taken many in the country by surprise, not me.
Many are still scratching their heads about his candidacy, continuing to utter surprise at how well Trump is doing in all the polls, and about how much he resonates with the popular voters’ points of view.
Pundits are still saying it can’t be. But it is.
I say his success is a reflection of this moment in time for the country. Perhaps a moment when we took our eyes off the present-the daily happenings- and failed to recognize that the Country is actually undergoing a revolution: clearly, a revolution of ideas (black lives matter); of campaign energy (making America great again is a good start); of resolve (revising and rethinking the 14th Amendment; the Constitution); and, a revolution in the political process (emergence of multiple party candidates).
We are charged to pay attention, to be mindful of the constant shifts in the landscape, to bring our best and most present selves to the playing field of choices for now, and for our future, because as Bob Dylan sang many years ago, “the times, they are a changing.”
This is a sustained moment in our political history; one that will play out over the next year.
I am excited to, one day at a time, participate in the outcome and stakes of this momentous political theater. I am eager to listen, argue, debate, agitate, inform, educate, and yes, vote.
I urge you to get involved. Join a discussion group. Pick a candidate and campaign for him/her. Read. Think. Think. Think.
Seize the moment.
Antonia Williams-Gary is a consultant with Miami-based Savings and Grace Enterprise. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org