During Obama's first inauguration, he made one stop on his way to his seat. He stopped and hugged John Lewis. After he took the oath, on his way out, John Lewis went up to him with a blank piece of paper and a pen. He asked Obama to sign the paper. Obama wrote, "Because of you John. President Barack Obama"
His first signature as president. And, a recognition that he stood on the shoulders of men like John Lewis to get where he got. (Obama has said on numerous occasions that he stood on the shoulders of men like Martin Luther King and John Lewis.)
Because of you.
I have thought a lot about that moment since I read it yesterday. I have thought a lot about the words, 'because of you.' I think it's worth a moment to ask ourselves what has happened in this world, or in our sphere of influence, 'because of me.'
Silence means nothing will happen because of you. Negative comments about our president and those who enable him also mean nothing happens because of you. Actions we take, words we repeat, stories we tell, will build our 'because of you' legacy.
Will your 'because of you' build or destroy?
God I love the adrenaline rush I get inside when I see someone brilliantly taking down those that are my enemy in my country. A meme, a combination of words that cuts and devours. I feed off it. I know that it builds nothing - that moment of righteousness, and then forwarding it to create the same worthless 'high' for my likeminded friends. It's a waste of time that could be better spent forwarding information about a great candidate running, or something that someone did that was building back that which we have allowed to be destroyed as part of the fiber of our country.
Because of Obama, and his oratory skills, and his amazing use of language, I have become a better person. Because of him. He reminds me whenever he speaks now, that there is no benefit in ripping things apart.
I will miss John Lewis and his rich history of taking actions that leave a legacy his future generations can hold in their hands with pride. I am grateful that I took a bit of yesterday and learned some things that I can use to emulate his fine example of how to be a great American.
I will strive moving forward to ask myself each night before I lay to rest what happened because of me today.