On a summer night, I believe, In Tampa, when I first saw a young senator from Chicago give a speech. Kyla was a newborn. Her mom was sitting there on the couch that she got before we were a couple at Rooms to Go on Dale Mabry. We were watching this Democratic National Convention.
Up until that time, I'd supported the GOP until a man named Bill from a place called Hope had caused me to think about some things which were bigger than just "fear fear fear and scare scare scare."
So I was open-minded going into it.
Then I was transformed.
After that speech, I told Dana that we had just seen a future President of the United States. This message of "there being no red states or blue states but a United States" resonated. It stirred my soul and lit a fire in my heart. I remember going to work the next day and telling my boss that I believed we had seen a glimpse of the future and that his name was Barack Obama.
Five years later, the circumstances have changed, but this President tonight reminded me why I believe he's the man for this time. At this time. At this moment in our history.
You see, the problem is this division that exists which some in Washington seem to live to propagate. The problem is that we send people to DC to do the "politics" or the "opus publicus" if you will.
The work of the people.
The right thing to do.
Tonight, we have real problems. We need real solutions. They won't be found in the ramblings from paid mouthpieces from K street and they certainly won't be found anywhere in the word "no".
But they'll be found our people doing the people's work in Washington will just... listen.
If the people doing the opus publicus will just listen, they'll hear the vox populi saying what it is that has been diminished by the rancor of this city.
They'll hear that the people need healthcare.
They'll hear that the people want to know that the economic future for themselves and their children is sound and secure.
They'll hear that some things - like "don't ask don't tell" and simply saying no just to say no - are relics of a failed political past which the people have rejected.
I think they'll hear that they expect our elected to do the work that they were entrusted to do when they were elected. And if they have the courage, they'll listen.
Tonight, that man from Chicago again stirred my political soul.
One of my New Years resolutions was to do something I did once before when an actor was President.
Then, in Houston, I wrote a note to President Reagan. He probably never got it but I basically asked him what it would take to do the things that needed to be done to help him get his job done. I must have been 10. I got a note back from some political handler who sent me some really good "President Reagan's message to students" newsletters and who told me that the "President wanted me to respond to you with these newsletters..."
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote President Obama a note. I mailed it from Georgetown. In it, I told him that change is not easy and that doing the impossible requires taking a road that few men or women in history could ever hope to navigate. But, I told him in that note that I still believed that he was the man that history had called - in fact - chosen - to lead us at this time.
And tonight, I still believe.
In fact, I believe just as strongly as I believed that summer evening in Tampa on Harbour Island when I first heard a young man from Chicago call us to reach for something higher.
If we can put aside this division in Washington, the Vox Populi will be clearly heard and the work that so desperately needs to be done will get the attention it demands. That we demand.
Should our leaders be willing, I believe they can heed the call of history...
... and ensure that our promise continues to be just as hopeful as the sunrise tomorrow morning.
I've got one more post to write tonight.... but in the meantime, thanks for reading.