A Nation of Change Agents




Last night, when I saw Barack Obama accept the nomination, I cried. I wanted my father to be there to see this. He was the one who taught me a black person was my equal, and the person who taught me a woman could be anything. He put his money where his mouth was, doing legal work that paved the way for black entertainers to live in the hotels they performed in when in Las Vegas. That took guts; at the time Vegas was run by the mob. He was also the person who sent me all the way through school to get a Ph.D. even though he wanted me to be a lawyer. He didn’t care if I never got married, as long as I was a professional.

As a result, I am the girl from Hope! I always think anything can happen (and to me, it often does.)

But until recently, I was despondent about the direction of the country and worried about how little power I (or anyone like me) had to do anything about the two issues that really bug me: the economy and the war. All this other stuff, it’s commentary. The war takes our young people and makes us look stupid globally, forces us into maneuvers like torture and wiretapping, and strains our resources.

Not that we don’t need to protect the country. It’s just that we need a paradigm shift in how to do it.

And the economy?  Well, for me that encompasses all of every day life: gas prices, cost of food, health care, outsourcing, insourcing…everything everyday people worry about, one paycheck away from poverty.

I am a firm believer in the power of entrepreneurship. I have been an entrepreneur for forty years, and I’m still engaged. I take a broad view of entrepreneurship — anyone who assumes responsibility for his own economic survival, whether by starting a business, helping one grow, or taking responsibility for his/her own employability is entrepreneurial to me. That’s how I’ve learned to view it from my travels in India, China, Malaysia, Africa.


I’m not a Republican or a Democrat, so don’t fall back on stereotypes. And I’m not a liberal or a conservative. I’m an independent and I take it issue by issue, election by election.

But I cried last night, and this morning I laughed. I laughed because John McCain, whatever else I think of him, has continued changing the game. Maybe he had to do it, but he did it. Maybe it wasn’t the right woman, but it acknowledged the sea change happening in our country.

America will never be the same after this election, and that makes me very happy.  In a lot of ways, we can no longer afford to be the same.

Happy Holiday!


About the author

Francine Hardaway, Ph.D is a serial entrepreneur and seasoned communications strategist. She co-founded Stealthmode Partners, an accelerator and advocate for entrepreneurs in technology and health care, in 1998.