06/18/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Story is Everything

Hillary Clinton is shifting the paradigm and the narrative. Because the story is everything in the culture of politics, these are important shifts to note.

Hillary, a woman who has broken barriers many women never dreamed could be approached, has a new story and it is a powerful, wise and seductive story.

Hillary now stands before us and tells us that, to achieve the dreams she sparked for us, to see the legacy of her campaign realized, we must vote for ... Barack Obama.

This shift is, of course, part of party politics. She is doing what a gracious loser does, what a smart politician does. She is aligning herself correctly within the party.

For months we have been told a compelling story, that to see the changes we supported come to fruition we needed to believe that only Hillary could deliver them.

We were told that only Hillary could lead us to our promised land.

And, suddenly, despite South Dakota and Puerto Rico, we are being told to shift our allegiance to another leader with vision. Obviously, this is the way of politics, the fallout of the race for the party nomination; but her first story was so good. Her narrative won her 18 million votes.

It highlights a larger point about who we are and about the power of stories in our lives: We choose to believe the stories that swirl around us, and if the swirl and spin are good enough, it doesn't matter who's spinning us.

As men, women, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and citizens, we choose to believe the stories Republicans spin, or Democrats, or the media, the pundits, our government, the movies, our parents, our children. We choose to buy into interpretations of the world that others serve up.

Such is the power of story.

Which story will you choose to believe today? Will it be Hillary's new story? Barack Obama's "Yes-we-can" story? Or John McCain's promise to bear the standard of conservatism into the 21st century?

Whatever you choose to believe, beware: it's all just a story.