Thursday, November 29, 2007


I found this commencement speech by Samantha Power to be inspiring in so many ways. It made me admire her work. It reminded me of my responsibility to the country. It bolstered my confidence in Barack Obama.

That's not the most important part, though. As I sat alone in the Lost Dog Cafe, gnawing on pizza, I was moved to tears by her fourth lesson. In the context of all of the larger truths, Power muses on the importance of friendship. Her words reminded me of how blessed I am to know so many honorable people who are doing their teeny-weeny part to make the world a better place--and who pass the "morbid but telling test" she describes:

"During the Bosnia war, none of us could have predicted where we would end up. Nor that, twelve years later, we would still be drinking together, laughing our heads off together and nursing one another through personal disappointment and loss. Each of us in our own small way is trying to make the world a teeny-weeny bit better, but I can't think of the last time any of us has discussed war, justice or politics with one another. We discuss books, baseball and boys. We cry together when it is warranted, but mainly we laugh. My, how we laugh...

I'm not sure who among us developed what will sound like a pretty warped standard for love. But one among us asked of a man she was seeing, "If I had to become a refugee, could I do it with him?" In my friend's case, the guy flunked and was given the boot. But that question, that standard, has remained with me. If you lost your creature comforts, if Katrina struck your neighborhood, who could make you laugh, care for you, remain curious about you and retain your curiosity? Each of my family members and my closest friends passes this morbid but telling test with a resounding yes. Lesson Number Four, then, is that when it comes to fighting the good fight, there is no fuel like friendship."

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