This below is the most moving speech I have heard in my lifetime, coming from a living, breathing American involved in our politics. I cry every time I listen to it.
Last night Mr. Curry and I opened champagne, poured juice for the children and made a toast with CNN running in the background, a toast to the 44th President of our United States, Mr. Barack Obama, the gentlemen from Illinois.
Tears ran down my face as I watched my President, President Obama, make his acceptance speech, and tears run down my face as I type these words. What does this man mean to me? What does he mean to a girl who grew up firstly in Jackson Mississippi, the only white girl on her block, in a town so divided by race and class that she had to fight her black girlfriends in the forest backyards of our homes to be accepted? What does this man, President Obama, mean to the girl whose Grandfather Mr. William Ethridge was the head Supreme Justice of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, and fought for black rights at a time when you just didn't do that in the deep South? What does this man mean to a girl whose greatest female role model has been Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman who while burdened with her own prejudices and preconceptions, spent a lifetime moving steadily away from those prejudices, convinced that life in America meant the pursuit of happiness for ALL it's citizens, black and white, Jewish and Christian, man and woman?
President Obama means to me that the great progressive principals I hold so closely to my heart are still alive and well in our Country, that we ARE moving forward, as we always have, and this great ability for change and progression is at the heart of my love for America. Like any family, we have great faults, but like all great families, we move toward freedom from those constrictions.
President Obama means to me that no black girl or boy will have to feel as if they are not allowed or able to participate in the highest service to their country. It means that Jessie Jackson with tears down his cheeks, Oprah Winfrey with her pride lit face and thousands of black men and women and white men and women who fought at their side could stand at Barack Obama's acceptance speech and perhaps be thinking of the great man who raised his hand and proclaimed ' I HAVE A DREAM! '
President Obama means that thousands of black men, women and children who crowded round radios and televisions around the world to watch his victory now know that the United States of America believes that all colors are one humanity. That the United States of America is more of our goodness than we are our evils.
President Obama means to me that the Democratic process works.
President Obama means to me that there is a better chance in the next years for gay rights, women's rights, schools, health plans and equalities of all kinds to progress or be upheld.
President Obama means to me that my children are growing up in a different and better country than I did.
President Obama means to me that when I hear our leader speak, I will hear light in the darkness, solution in the confusion, creativity in the stagnation, determination in the fight, unification in the face of diversification: I will hear solution based politics. The politics of Hope.
President Obama means to me that we are moving away from fear based decisions and towards decisions based on ethics and ideals, those same structures that have gotten us this far as a free country. Fear cages. Fear brings small lives and minds, and dominating forces of dictatorship. Hope and integrity and ethics bring change, progression and upflift the common man and women, move us toward the people and country we want to be. Yes We Can.
Personally, coming from a family that has endured a lot of hardships and pain, I respect Obama for coming from a broken, poor home as a young biracial man and making his way to the top with all his integrity in tact. I relate to making your way through great pain and struggling to hold on to your ideals, struggling to believe that people are inherently good, that a pursuit of excellence is valuable, important, that there is always hope. I relate to having to choose between despair and hope.
I feel the unreasonable passion for Mr. Barack Obama that the flush of first love brings: I adore his white shirts, rolled up at the sleeve, the steady way he holds his eyes and mouth when he speaks, the shape of his head which I can already see on a coin, the careful consideration he lends to any speaker, the fact that he says ' I will listen to you, especially when we disagree ' (which anyone in a long relationship knows is crucial to success) the story of his help and financial loan to a perfect upset stranger at the airport (long before he could be doing it for the press) the honesty he lends to his personal history, the fact that he is young and so vital.
Like our country.
Still, long after the flush of new love wears, there has to be the foundation of respect, trust and action for the love to remain. With President Obama, I know it will be a life long love affair,
That I voted proudly for on November 4, 2008: a man who I am so joyful and proud to call my President, Mr. Barack Obama.
" Your voice can change the world " -Barack Obama