May 11, 2012

My President, My Hope

On a Thursday afternoon, I found myself sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Bellingham trying not to cry.  I am the first to admit that I am not super politically active.  Yes, I vote.  And I have political views which are based on the morals and values by which I choose to live my life.  But I generally don't go to rallies, read message boards, or choose to get into political debates.  There are few issues that get me worked up enough to feel emotional.

Today as I was reading through old birthday letters that I had written to my boys, I came across a letter that I wrote to Sam two days after Barak Obama was elected President.  Reading through it, I became teary eyed, because I remember the feeling of relief and of how proud I was that the people had spoken.  We said that what had happened in this country for the last 8 years was NOT okay.  What had been done in the name of patriotism was NOT okay.  We stood up and we said we needed a change.

This week, Barak Obama sat in front of the nation for which he was elected leader, and declared that he supports same-sex marriage.  I cannot even type those words without tearing up.  I have written before about gay marriage, both in relation to California's and then Washington's legalization of gay marriage earlier this year.  I feel incredibly strongly about this issue.  I have gay friends, and my cousin Emaleigh, one of my favorite people in the world, is a lesbian.  The idea that she cannot be legally married in the state she has lived in for her entire life breaks my heart and at the same time fills me with anger.  Where do people get off denying rights to an entire group of people in this day and age?

I am so proud of Obama.  For showing his support for the basic human rights of people who just happen to be gay.  For showing that ideas can change, and evolve.  For, one again, giving me hope.  Michelle at Burgh Baby wrote a great post today called Thank You, Mr. President.  I loved how she put this:
"The facts, as I see them, are as simple as this: love is love. If two people want to celebrate their love by making a lifelong commitment, it should be their decision to make. My life will change in no way when  same-sex marriage becomes a norm. There may be benefits that come about, but there most certainly will be no harm.
My marriage will mean just as much then as it does now."
She talks about how this makes her feel in relation to her young daughter, and the world she will grow up in.  This is where I get even more sentimental.  I want my boys to grow up in a world that is good.  I hope that by the time they are older, they will not even realize that people used to be treated differently because of their sexual orientation.  I hope that they will see it in the same light I see women or black people getting the vote, and feel disbelief that those basic rights were denied so recently.  I hope that same-sex marriage will be something they don't even think about as not having existed.  I want them to grow up in a world where tolerance quashes hatred, where love conquers oppression.  I hope that when they watch this video, they will find nothing out of the ordinary about seeing an African-American President declare that same-sex marriage should be legal, and that I will have to explain to them why it was a big deal.

There are those who like to say that Barak Obama has not done enough for our country.  Frankly, I don't care.  I could point out that Obama's spending is less than a quarter of what Bush spent.  I could show you fact after fact about what he's done.  Beyond all that, he has given me, and millions of others, something to believe in.  He has started us back on the path to having a country we can be proud of again.  Things are changing, and it is beautiful.  I know there is a long way to go before it's a reality everywhere like it is here in Washington, but I am so happy that we are on our way.  And I'd echo Michelle and just say this: Thank you, Mr. President.  For giving me hope again. 

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