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“We have been dampened by low expectations for too long.”–Cory Booker

“Momma always said, ‘Jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we will get off the ground.”–Zora Neale Hurston

Just when I was about to give up politics completely, I found Cory Booker. I’ve been aware of this freshman senator from New Jersey for some time, but I’d never really looked into his success.

Last weekend, when attending the wedding of the daughter of my best college buddy, I learned about the peace conference he held in Newark. And about a lesson he learned long before throwing his hat into the political ring.

Before considering a serious run, he was advised to go see Momma somebody or another from the projects. I heard this story second hand from my friend who attended the conference so forgive my lack of specifics. It’s the message that counts.

Evidently “Momma” wielded a lot of political pull. So being a sharp guy, a Rhodes scholar and a Yale lawyer, he, of course, chose to pay due diligence. He knocked on Momma’s door, sat down for a chat and soon enough, let her take his hand and tour him around the projects.

“Young man,” she asked. “Tell me what you see here.”

Not sure exactly how to answer, he began a list that most anyone would recite: “Well, there’s a lot of trash. Broken down cars, kids with no direction…..”

“Young man,” she stopped him right there. “As long as that’s all you can see, that’s all you’ll ever see.”

And he got it. He realized that it’s our vision, our ability to imagine a better future that brings a better future about.

So I’ll let Cory (or rather Cory’s quotes) take it from here:

“The world outside of you is a reflection of what you have inside of you. If you see hope every time you open your eyes, then you can help, but if all you see are problems, that’s all there will ever be.”

“All the pieces are here for significant change. The toughest task is getting people to see it in the same compelling way after so many years of having focused on the negative.”

“We must excite people’s imaginations. We must have outrageous, ambitious visions.”

“We’ve got to drastically shake things up. We’re called on in life to do the things other say are impossible.”

Well said, Cory Booker, well said.

Pam Grout is the author of 16 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.

8 Responses

  1. It is what in my American Lit class, at Lackawanna college, about William Carlos Williams, he saw the world as Momma described it. He didn’t see the ruin or squalor of the poor but the energetic life they have. As T. S Eliot has a depressed outlook of what the world will become, in his earlier writings.

  2. I wonder what could happen if a group of villagers somewhere in Sudan decided to sit around a patch of dry, hard-packed earth and say, “This is not desert. This is oasis!” What could happen if I looked at my life that way too?

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