For the past several months I've been alternately excited, worried, anxious, angry, thrilled and hopeful. Tomorrow morning we'll wake up to the start of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and I can't even find words to express what I'm feeling about that tonight. It's like all the best Christmases of my life all jammed together and on steroids, but even better.
I've lived a lot of years, voted in a lot of elections, been supportive of a few candidates and despondent about a lot more, but I've never before felt so much "on the brink" about any political event as I do now. This is history, folks, and once again, as has happened a few times in my life, I'm very much aware that I'm witnessing the kind of historic event they put in textbooks. In my lifetime, I've paid sad witness to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others. I've been awed and inspired to watch the first footstep of a human being on the surface of the moon and now proud and privileged to be here in this moment.
There have been other memorable occasions along the way, moments that will also go into the history books, but those are the big ones for me. They're the moments when it felt to me as if America, and the world, seemed to be drawing a collective breath and focusing together on one singular event ... and those big events, for me, revolved around singular human beings.
Dave Stewart co-wrote this song with Bono, and here's part of what he had to say about this gift from two British songwriter's on the eve of a singular moment in our history:
People long for a connection -- whether it is to music, to their country, or to a big idea. Regardless of what happens in November, Senator Obama has reminded millions of people that they have the power to connect to bigger ideas. He is, in essence, the embodiment of a new anthem for change. He has continued King's narrative from what was once thought of as a dream to a reality. I find it especially relevant that Barack Obama will accept the Democratic Party Nomination for President 45 years to the day of King's "I Have a Dream" speech.What moves me most about Dave Stewart's message is not what he says about Barack Obama, but what he says about this country, and I'm grateful beyond words that there are still people "across the pond" who hold our country in this kind of regard and see us, not solely through the lens of the past eight years:
When we were originally writing the song, Bono was crafting the words in a way that would make people think about the fact that 'America' as a concept was a truly great idea, based on the bedrock of equality. I find it more pertinent than ever to release it now; to the moment America finds itself in, daring to re-imagine itself and its place in the world.
See, that's why he's a songwriter and I'm not, so I'll let him sum up, and I'll just pass along the gift of this video to all of you:
As an Englishman, I'm not an expert in all the intricate details of American politics. But as an artist, I understand how rare it is to inspire a connection to a bigger idea or purpose. This video isn't so much an endorsement of Barack Obama as much as it is a celebration of all those who have picked up a sign, who have registered to vote and are working to make the world a better place. So as Senator Barack Obama ascends to the mountain top, let us not forget all of the others who for the past 40 years have sung anthems of change to make this moment possible.