On Friday night, J and I went to see Senator Elizabeth Warren hold a town hall meeting at Framingham State. It was inspiring and encouraging to see a smart, articulate legislator working in her element, answering questions from an attentive and engaged crowd.
Watching Warren move around the stage as she answered questions and explained policy, I imagined how wonderful she must have been as a law school professor. (When the crowd roared at a mention of Glass-Steagall, Warren gushed, “I love a crowd who cheers for bank regulation!”) Running for Senate, Warren insisted, was never something she dreamed about: “It wasn’t on my bucket list, grocery list, or any other sort of list.” Instead, Warren’s childhood dream was to become a teacher–as a girl, she lined up her dolls and lectured to them–and even now, Warren’s inner-educator is still apparent.
When asked by an audience-member what concerned citizens can do to effect change in the Age of Trump, Warren urged everyone to stay informed and active, citing the failure of “Trumpcare” as proof that Washington does listen if people mobilize to speak out. Warren said that even though Democrats are not in control of the three branches of government, they still have their votes, voices, and values, and those Democratic values are what the majority of Americans want. (Hillary Clinton, after all, decisively won the popular vote.)
The most inspiring moment, however, was when Senator Warren asked who in the crowd was planning to run for office. About a third of the college-aged folks in attendance raised their hands, and everyone else cheered. Hope for the future doesn’t stand on a stage and lecture; hope for the future is sitting in the seat right next to yours. Trump’s election woke up lots of complacent citizens, and if that leads to a whole new generation of young public servants, that will be a long-term silver lining.