Prevail and Progress

We try and stay out of partisan politics here at the Prevail Project, because nobody is right on the internet and everybody goes home with their feelings hurt. The Democratic National Convention, however, is reason enough to break our self-imposed silence, because these people understand Prevail.

Take for example keynote speaker, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. Not a worldshakingly powerful position by most metrics. Mayors don’t command armies, launch missions to the moon and Mars, or enact sweeping social reform. Being a mayor is about the little things, zoning disputes, public sanitation, underfunded schools and underfunded police departments. But mayors can make a difference.

“Twenty years ago, [my brother] Joaquin and I left home for college and then for law school. In those classrooms, we met some of the brightest folks in the world. But at the end of our days there, I couldn’t help but to think back to my classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio. They had the same talent, the same brains, the same dreams as the folks we sat with at Stanford and Harvard. I realized the difference wasn’t one of intelligence or drive. The difference was opportunity.

In my city of San Antonio, we get that. So we’re working to ensure that more four-year-olds have access to pre-K. We opened Cafe College, where students get help with everything from test prep to financial aid paperwork. We know that you can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education. We know that pre-K and student loans aren’t charity. They’re a smart investment in a workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow. We’re investing in our young minds today to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow.

And it’s paying off. Last year the Milken Institute ranked San Antonio as the nation’s top performing local economy. And we’re only getting started. Opportunity today, prosperity tomorrow.”

Imagine if we had 1000 mayors like Julian Castro. 1000 effective leaders for change, willing to invest in opportunities for the next generation rather than play it safe. We’d have a better, stronger, richer, more humane country.

“The days we live in are not easy ones, but we have seen days like this before, and America prevailed. With the wisdom of our founders and the values of our families, America prevailed. With each generation going further than the last, America prevailed. And with the opportunity we build today for a shared prosperity tomorrow, America will prevail.”

Prevailing isn’t about a hero sweeping in to save the day. It isn’t about The Killer App, or The Revolution, or Revelation, or whatever it is you dream about at night. Prevailing is what gets you up in the morning, what lets you look at the mess outside the window, and do something about it. It’s about moving towards the future while not forgetting the lessons of the past. It’s about being skeptical enough to reject a slick snake-oil theory on how to set everything right, while being optimistic enough to try something new. It is what America is best at. Progress doesn’t happen all at once, or by command from the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe who tweak interest rates and tax policies. It happens every day with people who dive into a complex situation and try and make it better, whether they’re in government, business, education, art, or just their own lives. We can prevail!

((And if you need a little bit more of as jolt, nobody does it better than Bill Clinton.))

Leave a Reply