I may be reading too much into this but....
Last night, I started reading Barack Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope. From the first page, I've been praying over and over, "Please let him live. Please let him live. Please let him live", just like I did on the night of his nomination acceptance speech. I'm beginning to understand more fully why he has been intentionally reaching out to the younger generation. He is calling for a new conceptualization of what I am learning about in class, known as "civil religion". He is calling for us not to tear one another apart as adversaries (liberals vs. conservatives, Democrats vs. Republicans, environmentalists vs. big oil, etc.) He is inviting us to look, not just INTO one anothers eyes, but to look THROUGH one anothers' eyes, so that we may all see the common ground that we share as humans and as Americans. He wants us to treat one another with the compassion and dignity that each of us deserves. He is calling for us all, polititians and other individuals, to find the best in one another.
I've only just finished the prelude and the first chapter, so I can't wait to see more deeply into his vision.
It seems, sometimes, that it takes the next generation to capture the idealistic dreams and face the surrealistic nightmares that haunt our society in order to face reality with hope and optimism. With each new generation, there are a few elders to lead them toward the hope of justice and Right Living. Martin Luther King and the Kennedy brothers led a whole generation of black and white young people to transform our world forever, for the better. (Their lives were way too short, and I selfishly wish they had lived long enough for me to be a part of the generation that they mentored. I was born 9 days before MLK was murdered, so my memory only comes through other people's words and through witnessing their legacies as I sit in integrated classrooms.)
And now, young people are registering to vote, running local election campaign offices, calling people and working toward carrying the dream outlined by Obama of sharing power in respect and strength in order for our country, and perhaps the world, to erase some of the barbed-wire lines of divisiveness, intolerance and stubbornness. And instead of shooting insults and barbs at one another through the fence, exchanging shoes and eyes and shaking hands upon the common ground of humanity. Recognizing one another's worth and dignity as we walk toward the future with a sense of optimism for the first time in a long time.