Years ago I was a member of a professional association that staged a coup against the man who had served as its president since its founding. Members had lost trust in him and his vision for the association. In a surprise move, they coalesced a majority to elect me as president.
The next couple of years were ugly as I dug into the finances and found that the previous president has "skirted" the law and created potential legal problems for the association. So I had a pretty big mess to clean up and it took some time.
Once that was finally completed, we opened up the doors of the association to a lot of new members (something the previous president had opposed) and folks came flooding in. Knowing nothing about the mess we had been busy working to clean up for the past few years, they criticized the association for lack of vision, took the reigns, and ran with it. I was happy to pass the baton on to a next generation that would take the association where we'd always dreamed it could go.
I think of that experience now as a tiny replica of what I see happening with a meme that is developing in our politics. The buzz on the left is all about the new focus on income inequality. As the story goes, that meme came on the scene with the emergence of Occupy Wall Street and has been championed by Senator Elizabeth Warren. Lately even Hillary Clinton has gotten on the bandwagon.
Of course that narrative completely ignores the fact that Barack Obama has repeatedly called income inequality "the defining issue of our time" and that way back in 2007 he said dealing with it is why he decided to run for president.
But something happened on the way to that presidency. The guy who preceded him made a pretty big mess of things and for the first few years President Obama had to focus on cleaning all that up. Now that he's done so, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon that he had the vision to see over 7 years ago.
Based on my experience, it is probably inevitable that the baton will soon be passed on to those who will have the opportunity to build on that legacy. But when the history is written, I for one will remember who - not only championed that vision from the beginning - but did all the hard work to create an opening for it to thrive once again.
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