Ambassador James Joseph gives speech on hope and democracy
Ambassador James A. Joseph, Emeritus Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and former Leader-in-Residence in the Hart Leadership Program, recently gave a speech to the Longboat Key Democratic Club in Longboat Key, Florida. His speech spoke to the challenges and opportunities facing democracy and the Democratic Party in our current political era. Towards the beginning of the speech, he says:
When Maya [Angelou] reflected on the tragedies in her early life, she wrote that “the spring of hope is often immersed in the winter of despair.” You see a young black boy, fourteen or fifteen years old, whose parents were…maybe semiliterate, maybe third generation on welfare, but “he walks down the street as if he had oil wells in his backyard.” And then Maya adds, “If I had come down from Mars or Pluto, I would look at people like him and I would say ‘Who are these people? Who are they? How dare they hope, with their history?’”
This is not unlike those in our midst who now ask how dare we Democrats hope to form a more perfect union when it is the forces of disunity that seem now to prevail. The great question of the moment is how do we develop the capacity to be realistic about our predicament and still be able to look beyond and see the potential for something different and deeper.