Friday, August 29, 2008
thank you, barack
Earlier tonight I watched Barack Obama speak as he accepted the Democratic party nomination. I am no political pundit, nor am I particularly versed on politics in general. My agenda is generally so far from anything any mainstream American political candidate can muster that, unfortunately, I often pay them no heed. And though I am not naively touting the party line now, well aware of the shortcomings of the Democratic Party and even of Obama's campaign, I genuinely support Barack Obama. Furthermore, even if I didn't support him, I would still honor and respect him if only for his brilliant speech writing capabilities and his breathtaking skills as an orator. His speech tonight was certainly another spellbinding moment in his career.
I was gathered with some friends and my kids to watch the speech, and as we waited for Barack to hit the stage my younger son, G, asked if he could go watch a movie in another room. I told him no because I thought he should be with us for an important historical moment, the moment that a major political party in the United States finally, officially nominated somebody other than a white guy as the presidential candidate. Even if Barack does not assume the presidency, though I dearly pray he does, I felt this moment was of historical significance and that it was a worthy history lesson, a valuable moment to spend time with family, and if nothing else, an opportunity for the boys to get a good lesson in public speaking.
My friends and L and I watched the speech in rapt attention, and though I wasn't keeping very close tabs on him, G seemed kind of bored, and occasionally I had to stop him from fidgeting with a ball as the noise from him playing was making it hard for us to hear. So, imagine my surprise when we arrived home and G came up to me and said, "Mom, that speech was so amazing. I was interested in it the whole time even though I didn't think I would be. I even got tingles sometimes listening to it. I've never ever heard anything like that."
I asked him if he was glad I had made him watch it. He said, "Yeah," then hugged me and walked away.
Wow. For all that the American political process feels antiquated to me like a coal-fueled steam engine heading over a rickety bridge in the dark of night with no moon to guide, my heart sang for this moment. My children were inspired by the political process; they were inspired by a man participating in this supposed democracy who is doing his job well enough that an aloof teenage boy who would normally rather be playing video games listened with interest and "tingles" to a political speech referencing foreign policy, veterans' affairs, energy resources, tax cuts, the right to choose and same sex marriage. The acceptance speech from the US Democratic party candidate moved my thirteen year old boy to hug me in thanks for making sure he did not miss it, and this is a child who generally does not give physical affection without a struggle. Wow.
Thank you, Barack. Though I know this country and the world need a lot more than one man to bail us out of this handbasket to hell, I am sure grateful that you're hat is in the ring to try to help. Thank you for demonstrating to my sons that compassion, hard work, dedication and good communication are valuable to our society, and thank you for, perhaps, inspiring them to take up their civic responsibility someday soon. I am grateful for that.
I hope you and your beautiful family fare this arduous election process safely and come out thriving on the other side. And I hope I can soon call you the next president of the United States.