When I began to work on the first season of the Gen2Gen Podcast, I didn’t know where it would lead me.
Many of you know that I have spent parts of my life deeply involved in various political efforts; including two campaigns of my own. The first time I ran, it was the winter of 2002-03 in a special election and the wounds of 9/11/01 were still fresh and raw. The most-recent campaign was in 2017-18.
Both were different in their unique ways, but what I was fighting for really hasn’t changed.
What has is my perspective.
On the day when everything changed for us here in the States, I was merely 17 years old. I was a senior in high school. I was unsure of my future. And I was still very much in the closet.
I speak as the narrator on the podcast and share my own experiences of that day, but as a senior and soon-to-be “adult” I had a different perspective on the world. I knew there was evil in the world, but it had never really shown its face to me. But that changed. And we changed.
We passed new laws. We joined one war and began another. We lost many thousands of lives and hurt many more. And we, for a time, were together.
But that was always going to fade.
But we have faded so far from where we started.
We can’t even date people who have a different world-view. We can’t be friends with or have a beer with people who see the world differently. I cherish those relationships where there are different opinions. It’s what makes us … well, us. One of the podcast guests, Yad Conrad, a native Iraqi now living in California said something towards the end of his interview that struck a cord with me.
He was speaking about how despite our differences — and there are many — what he continues to be drawn to is our human-to-human connection. And it’s true, that’s our common bond. And President Kennedy said it best, “For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
That is our common bond.
And it’s true. We need to continue to show ourselves worthy of this American experiment which has stood for nearly two and a half centuries. But it takes conversation. It takes compromise. It takes a community of people willing to stand up and do the hard work. To listen. To run into a building that was just hit with an airplane. It takes the heart of someone overtaking a plane to save countless lives on the ground. It takes guts. It takes passion. And I know we can do it. We have done it before.
And we can do it again.