When I saw Velma Hart address President Obama a couple weeks ago, I cringed a little bit as she talked and cringed even more at Obama’s response. And I was just going to sigh deeply and let this go, not really wanting to add to the mountain of left-on-left violence that was clogging up the tubes.
But then I watched a bit of the One Nation Working Together rally yesterday and all I heard was more Velma.
“I’ve been told that I voted for a man who said he’s going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I’m one of those people, and I’m waiting, sir. I’m waiting. I don’t feel it yet.”
Forgive me if I am interpreting this all a bit incorrectly, but what I am hearing is a nation all waiting around for someone to swoop in and give them a job, hand them a top 10 checklist for success. There never was such a thing and never will be. You were told “Yes, WE can” not “Yes, I can.” What part of WE did you not understand clearly enough? Did you think the fight was going to be easy? Did you think the fight was going to come without casualty? Your new reality, Velma, is your old reality: success is never easy; freedom is never free. Nobody is going to save you if you choose not to save yourself. It could very well be that your old reality was an illusion.
When was the last time someone swooped in and created change for you? Why did you believe Barack Obama was going to do that when others have not? When did you think you could coast?
What I would have liked to have heard the president ask back to Velma is, “When did you give up fighting for yourself? When did you grow tired of the hunt?”
This Velma moment reminds me of a scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If it has been a while, watch it again. Toward the end, Harry is lying by the edge of the lake, dying as his soul is being sucked out by dementors. Some magic time shifting stuff, but he was on the other side of the lake, waiting for his dad to come and rescue him with the Patronus Charm; waiting as the dementors administers the Kiss, which sucked out a soul forever. He then realized that it was he who conjured the Patronus, not his dad. And this realization enabled him to create a powerful charm. Nobody saved him but himself.
This is how Velma — and all of us — need to view our “new reality.” We are our own saviors.
The world does not belong to the meek or the ambitious, but the tenacious. Sometimes moving forward means moving backwards a bit. But moving forward always means never giving up. Moving forward means getting back up when you get knocked down, regardless of how exhausted you feel. Moving forward, Velma Hart, means believing in yourself more than anyone else, even the President of the United States of America.
I think Barack Obama would agree.