Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has a personal story that is every bit as compelling as President Obama's, and he told it well at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Saturday (April 25, 2009) in Detroit.
Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Patrick, his mother, and his sister shared a set of bunk beds in the second bedroom of his grandparents' two-bedroom apartment. Every third night, one of the three slept on the floor.
Now his own daughter lives a well-off existence that includes having stayed in high-priced hotels so that when asked to describe "the four seasons" as a kindergartener, she described staying at the ritzy hotel of that name.
"One generation," Patrick said, is all that separates his daughter from the poverty he grew up in and which he escaped thanks to a scholarship to a Massachusetts boarding school and his own talent and efforts.
That has been the American story for many generations -- one generation doing better than the previous one.
We need a million more stories like Patrick's.