Recently my wife and I had the opportunity to sit down and watch Hamilton, the retelling of the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the men who helped shape the United States around the time of the Declaration of Independence. As with most performances of anything, there were moments and aspects I enjoyed and moments I didn't - but overall, it was memorable and impactful and the performances were powerful.
The key undercurrent of the story (aside from "the bullet" - which was brilliant by the way) that I noticed, was this idea that our impact on our social groups is real, but only in so far as we make small, continuous movement towards real goals.
In other words, we cannot simply wait to see what happens and hope for the opportunity to be there when important things happen so we can "take advantage" and hopefully "be in the room". We have to form convictions, bonds, friendships, love, connections, trust, respect, loyalties, and base all those things on little actions on a scale that is ever shifting. It can be maddening to some, because it means (for those who are inconsistent), that they may find themselves friend-less, without connections, without bonds and the like. However, do this within the framework of a tribe, like a dojo, federation, or friend-group, or the like, and it's possible to create real meaningful change in the world.
Is it because these groups are perfect? Is it because these groups view themselves with a perfect historical lens? Is it because these groups formed with a view more than 5 years into the future? Is it because of anything other than the desire to bring a group of "friends" together under one banner?
You see, just like with organizations, countries don't get to make excuses for all the mistakes made by their citizens, their representatives, policies and the like. Instead, what separates the great American experiment from all others, is the idea that we come together "in spite" of our core differences that everywhere else in the world has been used to create lines in the map. Here we use those differences to create bridges, to create connection points, to create bonds.
Are those bonds going to be clean every time? As a minority 1st generation son of immigrants, I can tell