We got a glimpse of a religious revival last week in Tucson:
“an America worthy of our children’s expectations”.
I look at my 8-year-old and try to visualize her 21st century future.
Will she be texting a few years from now? (I know she will in-mail and tweet).
I have no idea at what age a kid is entitled to a smart phone.
There isn’t an updated protocol or parental manual.
We are living in an unprecedented era with data flow at the speed of light (faster when all those dark fibers got lit up). As compared to people in the Middle Age, we have outlived their average life expectancy and been information-overloaded by the nth time.
If Martin Luther King were to give his speech today, we would hear him on YouTube, read it on Twitter and comment on Facebook. “I too have a dream”.
It dawn on me that there are two ways to be famous: martyrdom and meeting Wall-Street expectations.
CNBC is showing “The Smartest Guy In The Room”. The most moving scene was when Enron’s workers were told to clear their desks within the hour of company’s bankruptcy announcement, its judgment day and the end of “creative accounting”.
They too had a dream and a pension.
In California, the new governor is the one who should be given the line “I’ll be back”.
Californians too have a dream and a budget shortfall.
And to top it all, they are trying to build the tallest building in China, modeled after the one which almost didn’t get opened in Dubai.
Kuala Lumpur twin-towers and Sears-now-Willis tower are dwarfs in comparison.
They once had a dream as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I got my Dad’s romantic DNA so “dream” has cost me a lot.
Still I’d rather try and fail than fail to try.
Back in the 60’s, the lyrics were about “I want to get on the cover of the Rolling Stone”.
Today, on the radio, I heard “I want to get on the cover of Forbes magazine…I want to be a billionaire” (B not M).
It reminds me of a scene from Austin Powers, in which number 2 tried to remind Dr Evil that while he had been in deep freeze, the world had changed, with huge inflationary consequences. “We only live once, so we might as well dream big” (quoted Ted Turner, who lost a great deal on the AOL-Time Warner merger). But life for the rest of us often calls for cynicism ( a darker shade of gray).
(Recent “double up” housing trend as alternative to homelessness proves my point i.e. unemployed parents move back in with the kids, not the other way around)
So, which way on the spectrum of idealism, pragmatism, skepticism and cynicism should we turn?
I must give it to Dr King.
He managed to rally the nation and the world to a great cause (Gandhi and Mandela are also up there).
On those giants’ shoulders we now stand.
Standing tall or not, our choice.
One doesn’t have to go the martyr route to make an impact.
Wherever on that spectrum (idealism-cynicism) you found yourself, just move up one notch each day (incremental positivism).
I like Vu Pham’s idea in his “Impressive First Impressions”. You just have to press “reset’ every time to refresh your personal brand.
If we just pay attention to our inner self as much as we do outer, the world would be a better place, and America, more “worthy of our children’s expectations”, a dream worthy of immigrants old and new. A rosier shade of dream.