Wednesday, December 9, 2020

the last book I ever read (A Promised Land by Barack Obama, excerpt two)

from A Promised Land by Barack Obama:

Rarely does a week go by when I don’t run into somebody—a friend, a supporter, an acquaintance, or a total stranger—who insists that from the first time they met me or heard me speak on TV, they knew I’d be president. They tell me this with affection, conviction, and a certain amount of prise in their political acumen, talent spotting, or soothsaying. Sometimes they will cloak it in religious terms. God had a plan for you, they’ll tell me. I’ll smile and say that I wish they had told me this back when I was thinking about running; it would have saved me a lot of stress and self-doubt.

The truth is, I’ve never been a big believer in destiny. I worry that it encourages resignation in the down-and-out and complacency among the powerful. I suspect that God’s plan, whatever it is, works on a scale too large to admit our mortal ribulations; that in a single lifetime, accidents and happenstance determine more than we care to admit; and that the best we can do is to try to align ourselves with what we feel is right and construct some meaning out of our confusion, and with grace and nerve play at each moment the hand that we’re dealt.

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