Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Where Were You? - A Stream Of Consciousness

Where were you when Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination?

Just so that the moment doesn't fade away entirely, I was at Brian Boru's with Harris, Jenna, Robin, and Patrick from the League, and Kahari from the national League office. We had been canvassing in preparation for the June primary, and people were thanking us for coming by their door and handing them a voter guide. We were talking about Obama, about race, and about working on environmental issues from a "green jobs" perspective. I was listening to them talk, Africa on my horizon, and just feeling so God damn proud that I'd helped build up this group of leaders, who would continue creating ripples of change throughout Maine. Talk about leaving on a high note, so much so that doubt creeps in about whether leaving is the right decision. But, at the very least, I'm leaving my city, my state, and my country in good hands. And if I eventually regret leaving, well, what better argument is there for coming back?

Barack Obama, man. All that talk about hope and change. All I can say is that, even given the challenges that face us, I reject any outlook that is not fundamentally optimistic. Which, I think, is why I spend my time the way I do, pushing back for people, for the beautiful complexity of life on this planet, and for a reasoned and rational understanding of the world.

I defend my thesis tomorrow, and make my little contribution to our understanding of global environmental health. I'm done teaching for the year. I leave Portland in less than a month. I have regrets, but they're the right regrets, and I'm proud of how I've spent my time.

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