Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Politics of Hope: President Barack Obama

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
Annie said...

Beautifully said, Maggie!

Steph(anie) said...


Collin Kelley said...

Yes we can...and yes we did!

TheLaw26 said...

What an amazing day in American history. I personally didn’t vote for Obama but am truly inspired by the positivity and global reaction resulting from his election. His energy is addicting and his demeanor inspiring.

His story is truly American. I’d love to dive into Obama’s mind and discover his motives and internal dialog. To go through a year of campaigning is very difficult, but to go through a year of campaigning and deliver a speech like that is truly inspirational.

What’s also fascinating is looking at the dynamic of who voted, how they voted, and what drove them to vote. Obama’s campaign created a wave of energy that grew bigger and bigger as his campaign moved forward, engulfing (in a good way) each supporter and supercharging them. How did they do this? It all started with a vision. Obama’s vision, planted deep within his mind, began to take root almost 2 years ago today. The power of his vision can teach every American citizen about how to accomplish goals using the powers of visualization and intention.

I looked into this vision questing further and found that many super-successful people have been using vision boards to help focus their mind and accomplish their dreams. A vision board is a collage of images pasted on a board that represent your desired outcomes, your goals, and dreams. By studying your vision board, your brain gains clarity on what is important to your success, the things you MUST accomplish. I found a site that allows you to download a free 8-step power plan to creating vision boards. I’d highlight recommend downloading it.

Jenny Grace said...

I love that speech.

nina corvallo said...

Hi Maggie, I came to your blog via "my love for you is a stampede of horses" -- what a wonderful post!

steenky bee said...

I bawled all last night. I cried on the way to work today. Happy tears. Four years ago, my husband yelled to me from upstairs to hurry up and watch something. He saw Obama speaking at the DNC when Kerry was running. He pointed to the screen and insisted, "I don't know who he is, but one day he will be president." (My husband tends to me conservative) I didn't believe him. I'm glad I was wrong.

Maggie May said...

i was listening to this speech for the 6th time today and realized, damn, this is a hundred million times better than any moving sweeping moment on film i've ever seen (and i love film) this is reality! this is what we are capable of!

Rock Obama. Rock on.

and Steenky that's crazy your husband called it! he gets major props.

Maggie May said...

oh and Nina hi!!! i'm going to check out your blog. thanks for visiting and i'm so glad you liked my words.

michellewoo said...

' I will listen to you, especially when we disagree '
Great words that will remembered for always.

Hannah said...

My humble musical letter to President Obama:

Hannah Friedman

Barbara Campbell Thomas said...

Oh, I know what you mean--have been crying these days too, tears of thankfulness and gladness, relief and release really. Thanks for you passionate words--am so hopeful for our country now. Yesterday on the radio I heard an African-American woman say, through HER tears, that this all is an act of divinity--in some way I too think this is true--am hopeful that the healing can be long and full.

The Panic Room said...

It's amazing to find blog after blog and their authors that took the time to express how deeply this has affected them and their families. I feel so very connected to the country for the first time in my life. That so many people witnessed and passionately cared about the outcome, and we all feel one love for an American President! I NEVER thought I could feel this way about a leader.

Tamara (TC) Staples said...

I swear I still cannot quit crying and being all emotional. Thank God he won.

molly said...

beautiful post, really and truly, i wish i could have been as articulate. thank you.

Lola said...

I loved that speech, and I hate speeches, so that's really saying something.

Great post, girl!

SarahJane said...

what a video. i'm crying now, too! i cry on command these days.
i'm SO proud. loved your post.

Chaos and love said...

Wonderful words! It seems that people are just happier this week. I have felt an emotional shift within myself, which leads me to believe a positive shift in those around me has occured. Positive thoughts do indeed change the world.

My son was confused however, when he heard that it was "historical" he was elected. When I explained he identifies as a black man, he told me, "wait...isnt he white too?" I replied,"yes." He then stated,"well, I am white and brown. He is not just black, he is white. Like me. Well, I am more brown." I told him I agree. He is biracial, and it's one thing I had a problem with in regards to him. He was raised by his moms family, not his dad's. So, I feel it's historical because my country decided that hope and love are more important than hate.

Emily A. Benton said...


a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

tears where streaming down my face, while i listened to his speech...

i find myself crying when i think about it.

Maggie May said...

isleta it sounds like your son is very intelligent and's wonderful he can talk to you and get listened to so carefully.

37paddington said...

i went back to look for this post, because somehow i knew it would remind me of the hope we all felt on november 4, 2008. i still feel that hope and belief in this persident, even though the voices of fear and division are doing their best to drown it. it is important for us to remember, i think, that he is not a perfect man, but he is a good man who is doing his best within an appalling media circus. this post reminded me. thank you.

best to you, maggie may!

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