I am not sure when I started to really get excited about Obama. I know way back when he was elected to the Senate, I was impressed with him. His speech at the 2004 Democratic Rally was inspiring, and I was still reeling from the shock that he was only the third African-American senator to be elected since Reconstruction (WTF!?). But I didn't really see him as much more than a news blip on my radar.
During the primary run, I was not excited about anyone. I knew H. Clinton was totally not my pick. She wanted this too badly and as a result was not standing up for anything. Her wish-washy views didn't leave me with much faith. I was sad because I used to love H. Clinton. I still admire her spunk and I used to admire her willingness to stand up for what she believed in but it seems that politics do corrupt. I had friends who were nuts about Obama from the beginning, and spent hours trying to persuade to be nuts about him too. It wasn't enough that I planned to vote for him in the primaries. I had to love him too.
And now a few months later, I am pretty crazy about the guy. There was no blinding light moment on the road to Damascus. Rather it was a gradual process. His speeches were inspiring. The man can talk. And there was something about the message of hope that made me want to believe. His stance on the Iraq War has always been consistent--we need out. And while his tax ideas are no way as liberal as mine (sorry folks, the guy is so not a socialist) they were enough to convince that he has a social conscious.
And then there is Michelle. Cause dear readers my Obama love is not just for Barak. It's for her too. Her story is right out of the "American Dream" history book. Poverty, overt racism, you name it, she faced it, and came out strong. Her intelligence and integrity are apparent in every interview she gives. I told a friend that maybe we should have her running for president. If there's any anger (and I've yet to see what white people are so damn scared of), I would say it is a righteous anger. Personally I have no problem with righteous anger. It is good to have some fire in politics.
Yeah, I know she would "only" be a first lady but when I see the love and respect that exists between Obama and Michelle, I suspect she's going to be a hell of a lot more than a "just."
Lastly, there's my son. Umberto is definitely Obama crazy. He has posters. He wears pins and stickers. He's busily designing a banner for our house to hang on election day. He makes sure, daily, that he's coming with me when I vote for Obama. He watches the debates! He knows Obama's platform. And a few weeks ago, he said "You know Obama has the same color skin as daddy." It is a big deal to Umberto that he is seeing someone who looks like his daddy run for president. It's a big deal to me because I want to be able to honestly say "You can do whatever you want." For too long that doing what you wanted has been limited because of racist, sexist views. And no Obama is not going to wipe that slate clean but he is a start.
So yeah I'm getting excited and scared. I feel like we're on the brink of history and that's a scary exhilarating feeling. We have a chance to elect someone who is different. No matter what your political bent, this is not politics as usual. This is an African-American male about to become the PRESIDENT. It's huge, and we get to watch it. I want to believe. I want to have hope. I want change, and for once, I'm going to push my cynicism aside, and just let myself go.
Added a bit later: I'm chatting with yet another old friend from college, and he was saying how Obama's message is positive, and he said "The details, as long as he stays true to his character, are almost irrelevant." I agree with the emphasis on "almost." What drew me to Obama, initially, was definitely his message. And I think that his going back to that positive, hopeful vibe, is wise. It's a reminder of why so many us have come to have hope again.