On Hope

I know, I know. This is the first you’ve read about Michelle Obama’s DNC speech. I’m honored you chose me as your DNC conduit. I mean, I know Rachel Maddow is beyond fierce, but let’s face it, I’ve got this. (Sorry, Rach!)

It goes without saying that I love the Obama family. I’ve never been this enamored with a President, although Clinton is pretty much right up there. Hillary, I mean. (Just kidding, Bill! Alright, not really.)

Whether it was the culminated stress of writing a Master’s thesis while hotel-hopping from shovel-bum project to project in the Virginia mountains, or the fact that the US had a tarted up turd in the White House for one term too many, the night President Obama won the election, I had one of the most cathartic cries of my life.

Enter fortuitous, albeit tragic, plastic motel comforter.

But that night, I had a nightmare he was assassinated. And I woke up crying. But, why? Other than the aforementioned turdy reason, that is.

For such a protracted period of time, the greater world had turned its back on the US. To say a thick veil suffocated liberals’ optimism during the Bush administration would be a gross understatement. A personal vendetta turned into war, while the guilty party escaped into the mountains. It all took a toll. And the heaviest prices were paid in blood. Muddying the political waters with oil prospects and vitriolic, duh-laced commentary pushed me over the edge, and I could barely cajole myself to listen to NPR, much less any other news coverage. But then, on that November night, a candle was lit in that jet-black chasm into which the US had fallen.

Hope was reignited, and younger generations were keen to fan its flames into an inferno.

And while every breeze over the past few years hasn’t been perfumed with roses, we at least have a President who has admitted that, as the First Lady reiterated last night,  “…we are playing a long game here…and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once.” More than that, though, President Obama extends a hand to his constituents–not to pilfer their wallets, but to acknowledge their humanity. To push them to keep pushing onward.

And while some people may think it simplistic, any President who swims against the current—rather than traveling down the mainstream Lazy River—has a confidant in me. That’s not to say I haven’t been frustrated with his slow move on LGBT issues. But I’ve come to realize that sometimes we must first repair a cracked foundation before addressing a leaky faucet. And when we’re tired and floundering, sometimes each of us–including the President–needs a lifesaver to help navigate unfamiliar, tumultuous waters. With the Democratic Party’s platform encompassing LGBT rights, I feel that there’s a place for me in the lifeboat. I might not drown.

Aquatic metaphors aside, this country has come a long way in the past four years. Things haven’t been easy. But at least I know there’s a Commander-in-Chief whom I can respect, under whom the petulant, war-mongering child of a country we’d become transformed into a bona fide, respectable, articulate adult.

And as I re-read the transcript of Michelle Obama’s DNC speech, and got just as choked up the second time around as the first, I felt that same sense of impending goodness that I felt that teary night in 2008. I feel hopeful that the US will continue to travel in the right—not Reich—direction.

And it feels much better than a plastic comforter.

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