When I was nine years old, I received a signed photo of President Gerald Ford in the mail. I’d written a letter to him when I heard of a problem the country was having on the evening news. I’d learned what inflation was, and that we had a lot of it. The solution I proposed to the President seemed simple enough: just have the government take over all industry so they could control prices. At the tender age of nine, I proposed Communism to the leader of the free world.
The President’s response didn’t mention my childish (and borderline treasonous in the middle of the Cold War) proposal. I found the photo and letter recently when cleaning out some old papers. I’d rather have back the letter I sent to him than his form letter, but I’m glad my parents’ response was to give me an envelope and address it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue instead of telling me that I was wrong…my parents are great that way. My son has a similar photo and letter from President Bill Clinton. I don’t remember why he wrote to the President, though I know he wasn’t proposing a revolution like his mom did.
I’ve always believed each of us has the power to change the world. Though my optimism has been markedly tempered by adult realizations, this last year has reinforced this belief. The voice of The People has been awakened in our country in a way we haven’t seen in too long. New activists are taking action for the first time. Women, in particular, are realizing that they must speak for themselves if they are to be heard. I find it exhilarating; our democracy is scraping off the rust it had been gathering. The world will be different for it; our country will be changed.
“The history of liberty is a history of resistance.” –Woodrow Wilson