On January 21, 2016 my life forever changed. On that day I became a father.
I was overwhelmed with love for this not-so-tiny creature. She was so new to the world. She seemed so vulnerable. And as many a new parent before me had warned, I almost immediately began to see the world around me differently.
Life insurance? It had never made sense before that day, but now it seemed it was unquestionably necessary.
Wearing a seatbelt when I got into a taxi or Uber? It seemed pointless before, but now without even realizing I was doing it I began reaching for the belt as soon as I entered the vehicle.
Getting politically involved? It always seemed like something other people did. I was too focused on my private sector career as the CEO of an early stage company to have the time or desire for that. And yet now, ensuring that the world was an ever-better place was no longer something I believed I could just hope and wish for. It was no longer enough to just talk about it in late night conversations with friends. Now, actively working towards that goal for this specific person, someone who would outlive me by decades, was not just essential, it was a moral imperative.
My Facebook posts with (what I thought was) clever commentary for my echo chamber of likeminded friends not only felt unhelpful, but also in many ways seemed counterproductive. Pointing fingers as to what was wrong, and who was at fault did nothing to create the change required.
Understanding the other side was now urgent. Finding areas where we were actually on the same side and may just not yet realize it had to be the goal. Working with people, not against them, was what would make things better for my daughter. Now was the time for me to do something. Now was the time to take action, and work to spur others to do the same.
Throughout my life I have lived in many different cities and states. No, I was not an Army Brat. My parents were just fickle in their geographic decision-making.
I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, Greenville, North Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida all before I reached 18. For school I moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and once I graduated quickly returned to the South, where I now live in Atlanta, Georgia with my wife and daughter. In each of these places I have had the opportunity to meet new people. I have had the opportunity to get to know people with entirely different backgrounds and perspectives from my own. I have befriended people who all love their country, and who all want the best for it.
What stands out to me from the various moves and interactions is just how much we all have in common. How much my family in Carbon Hill, Alabama actually agrees with my college friends from the Northeast. To hear the media or the two main political parties tell it, we are a nation divided. On some issues, this is true. On many others, it could not be more wrong.
A divided nation is nothing more than a state of mind perpetuated by those who benefit from others believing it to be true. Why? Because if people ever realized just how much we agree, just how much we all want the same thing, all want what is best for our family, our neighbors, our countrymen and women, we would not be beholden to the existing political system and the ossified parties that claim to represent us. We would be free to work together to create something better.
And that is why I am so energized by the Serve America Movement. The first word in the name says a lot about the movement, and those who are joining it: Serve. It is about serving something beyond myself. It is about serving someone beyond me. It is about serving the country that I love, and the people within it. Sitting back and waiting for someone else to take action is no longer enough. Now is the time to join SAM.
Americans have never sat back and accepted something we didn’t like without putting up a fight. That’s not who we are as a nation. But that seems to be precisely what we’re doing with modern politics.
Even though two out of every five Americans feels this way, our elected leadership hardly represents this reality.
We’ve all either said it or heard it: “My vote doesn’t count.” The bad news is, for a majority of voters, that’s not far from the truth — especially when it comes to congressional races like the midterms coming up this November. The good news is, there are solutions.
SAM is building a new political party for a new majority. Our goal is to break the self-interested stranglehold of the two entrenched parties and give back power and voice over our future, and our country, to the people.
We can’t do it without you.