Monday, January 21, 2008

Keeping it Real

Often times people ask us about our mission, "Building a car !@#$%* Isn't that impossible in America today?"

Answering that question is a double edged sword, because if we say "Yes", then the natural follow-on is "What on earth are you thinking?!" And if we say "No", then we are somehow arrogant or naive.

I think perhaps the best answer is delivered by placing our mission in context.

And perhaps there is no better context than the National Holiday we are about to celebrate - Martin Luther King day.

Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King was born in 1929, and at the age of 26 he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This struggle took a year's time and was launched in the face of the city's official policy of racial segregation on the public transport system. In one year, this Boycott had made a legend of Rosa Parks and ended in a Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery Laws unconstitutional.

Then at the age of 34, King participated in the March on Washington during which he delivered his landmark "I Have a Dream" speech.

And at age 35, he became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to put an end to segregation in a non-violent manner in a country of great hostility to that notion.

So with this in mind, I hope that all who would doubt the believability of our mission will put into perspective the relative importance of our task. Our collective task to build a new car company is meaningful and large, no doubt, and we are all young. Nonetheless, King was younger than all of our team is now when he lead the Bus Boycott.

Age and fame are not critical ingredients to achieving one's vision, and we try to remember that if nothing else from the life of King.

So as we enjoy the day and reflect on what we are about, we are at once touched by what such a great man achieved and how comparatively manageable our task ahead is.

34 years old


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