(I may have a problem with this one. No, really. This is exactly what happened to me with Howard and with Big John, this is all it took, which is in and of itself a problem. You know that sort of “oh, no, no, no” feeling you get in your gut when you’re falling for somebody you just can’t fall for, somebody who’s a coke-addict poet who hates people and thinks punctuality is for losers and has two nipple rings and on top of that is, like, married and your boss? You know that feeling, of, “This is just going to be atotal disaster” but at the same time you can’t stop smiling and you kind of want to dance with everyone you see? I’ve got that feeling about Chris Dodd right now.Damn it. But there’s aDodd Squad. I mean, come on. What else am I supposed to do with that?)
At thiscollege talk I’m giving next week I’m going to be talking about leadership, about the moments we recognize in our own lives that force us to stand up. About how there’s no magic to it, about how it’s all just about listening to whatever gods you pray to when they start praying back, about how it’s just, as Jacob says, all your wrong turns wrenching straight. (Yes, I will probably cite fucking Battlestar Galactica in my college campus speech, and shut up, it tracks, really it does.) How great you are in that moment, how at home you are in your skin, how solid you are on the ground you stand on. How sure you are, and how glorious and scary that is.
We kid ourselves a lot, you know. We tell ourselves that what we know is our moment really isn’t, that somebody else should do it, that it’s somebody else’s job, but come on. You know. You know what you have to do and how you have to do it, and all you really have to do about it is listen to yourself, listen to yourself, and avoid the story in the future being about how you should have done something but didn’t.
Dodd could have sat back, waited for Hillary or Obama to speak up, or Joe “National Security Is My Penis” Biden, or Richardson, or Edwards. Waited for a lead to follow, waited for somebody else to take care of it. But man, sometimes the only answer to the sickness inside you is to open your damn mouth and get up out of your chair, and yell as loud as you can with whatever voice you possess, and the hell with who hears you because it’s not about being heard, it’s about speaking.
It’s about speaking. If there’s one lesson I hope the other presidential contenders take from all this, it’s that their jobs aren’t about other people hearing them. Hearing is somebody else’s responsibility.
Speaking is yours, so fucking speak.