Averyt: Yes!

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(HOST) Commentator Anne Averyt finds something unique to celebrate in the birth of her granddaughter: the promise of a bright future, the hope of a new generation.
(AVERYT) Some things never disappoint.  I visited Paris 25 years ago.  Last fall, I returned.
I was so filled with anticipation, I feared I’d be disappointed – that the Paris of reality wouldn’t live up to the Paris of memory.  But Paris doesn’t disappoint; and, even though the monuments are so familiar they are almost clichés, you can’t help but be awestruck by their magnificence.

I thought about that a few weeks ago when my granddaughter was born.  Every day almost 500 thousand babies are born worldwide; yet each birth, each baby holds its own aura, its own magnificence.  Each birth offers hope and each reinforces for me the incredible potential of one, the power of one.

Both my sons live in the rarefied air inside the Beltway that rings Washington, D.C. When the talk turns to politics, they speak with passion and energy.  The same passion I once had; the belief in change that once energized me.  With age I have become weary and perhaps a little wiser.  I now believe positive change only comes one by one by one, in the power of one passing it on, the power of one uniting with others – like the courageous individuals joining together throughout the Arab world, passing on the power to say no to repression.    

When I worked as a public interest advocate in Washington in the 1980s, I was inspired by a regal, soft-spoken woman, Esther Peterson, the Grand Dame of the consumer movement.  She was untiring in her efforts to give a voice to the voiceless.  A friend of mine told me of a visit she made shortly before Esther passed away.  This woman, who initiated more positive change than most of us dream of, was pained by nagging doubt.  "Did I," she asked my friend, "Did I really make a difference?"

I believe that is what most of us want to leave as our legacy.  Did I make a difference, is the world a better place because I passed by?  I believe our power of change is the power of one, each of us doing a small part.  The power of one to mentor, to volunteer, to reach out to a neighbor in need – these small steps, the ones we often take for granted, are the real giant leaps for mankind.

So yes, my granddaughter Eliza is a beautiful little girl.  And yes, she represents hope, yes she joins the army of the next generation born the same February night she was – the night of the full moon opening on the dawn of what I hope will be a more compassionate world.  So that her voice of one will be lifted up with others born that night – and with Molly Bloom, who in the final chapter of Ulysses so powerfully affirms life: Yes, yes, yes!

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