I’ve been thinking a lot about one question as we worked on the second version of this narrative. It is a question asked by the lone voice: the working mom at the dinner table after the kids have gone to bed, the neighbor who sees the people on his block who used to have jobs and don’t now, the business owner who is doing everything he can to be responsible and still has to compete with those who aren’t. They all feel the tug of their values in conflict with the world around us.

They ask, “What difference can I make?”

I have come to believe that this question – “What difference can I make by myself?” – is one of the biggest obstacles we face in the great change before us.

It’s not that we aren’t working together in many ways. I saw it at my son’s school in the amazing amount of work that all those caring parents put into the last silent auction fundraiser. Honestly, I just showed up and spent what I could.

But really, are we going to fix this economy with silent auctions? Our story won’t be credible unless it is as big as the problems we face. This turning point will linger unless we hunger for big, can’t-do-it-by-ourselves change.

That’s why we spent a long time talking about the outcome of our quest, asking our own consciences and those of neighbors and community leaders around the state and around the US: What would real success look like? What should we aim for? What should America mean?

Then we looked at how to get there from here. And wrote this narrative as a recipe for many, many cooks.

It’s not that we have all the answers. But we have a start. We know who the good guys are and we know some of what they need to fight the threat. We turned those into the heroes and heroes' tools. We know who the bad guys are and we know they have to be defeated, or, like Darth Vader, be changed by love.

This sounds corny to say but it’s important. As progressives we believe in redemption. That can’t stop us from being willing to take Darth Vader down, for the sake of the galaxy we leave our children. (We are huge Star Wars fans around here and likely to toss in references without restraint. You’ve been warned.)

In this narrative, we have some intelligence, some internal consistency, and some answers to the question, “How do we do this together?” We also have a way to say it over and over. We’re going to have to. Political consultants say it’s because repetition is required to cut through the noise, and that’s probably true. It’s a noisy world.

Maybe more importantly, by telling the same smart, true-to-our values story, we show that we are working together. That we have thought it through and that our individual actions can add up to something large enough to fill everyone at the table, if we are all willing to do our share. For the moms and neighbors and business owners out there who are wondering “What difference can I make?” Our work together on this narrative begins to be an answer.