This was originally posted on election eve, the night Obama won. I feel the need to re-post it because mom's words--and mine--were so heartfelt at the time. I have become skeptical, but mom and her new love, Bill (a great guy, a former Chicago organizer, professor, and worthy of her) are still so hopeful--even in their seventies.
And since it's mom's birthday today I thought a little history of her was in order, again...
She was born in Kansas in 1933--the enlightened daughter of less enlightened parents, younger sister to a less enlightened one. These people are my maternal family. They didn't go to church, they worked hard for whatever they had, and they were tacitly racist. Not my mom.
My mom had dreams. She dreamed of being an actress, a singer, a director, a producer, a mother, a grandmother. She dreamed of the real world where people deserve respect, no matter their container. She fulfilled those dreams, not to the height she may have hoped, but she achieved them all with grace, kindness, thoughtfulness, and hard work.
She still dreams. She is a dreamer. She dreamed her way into my Jewish father's heart, and presto! here I am, 45 years later, her Jewish, atheist, teacher, blogger son.
Mom is a force. She raised 2 sons, and very nearly 2 granddaughters. She fairly recently buried my dad, and too recently, my big brother. She watched as her sister delved deeper into religious intolerance, ignorance, and prejudice. It made mom stronger. She is the strongest person I know.
She was a Hillary supporter until it became apparent that cause was lost. Barack's blackness never made an impression. She's as far from racist as one can be. She looks into your heart to find out who you are. She became an Obama supporter easily.
She spends her time nannying (for money, she ain't rich!) and organizing her community. She hosts dinner-discussions with the neighbors who don't quite understand how this feisty little woman can bring people together so easily, so lovingly, so gently, and with such focus; she invites local legislators to join in on these meetings--and they show up! She IS the neighborhood. Her neighbors tell me so every time I go up to see her. She knows it too. She's focused, purposeful, driven.
Last night, in her newly adopted home in the pacific northwest, she was out with the revelers as Obama became president. She called me around 9pm near the drum circle, much like a child would call out with joy, to share in her feeling of inclusiveness, and wonder, and satisfaction as she participated in her city's eruption of relief and hope.
If there is another mom out there like her, I don't believe it. She wrote this because she had to. She doesn't hold in her feelings, especially when they are feelings of hope and joy (and she has a thing for words):
In a park in downtown Chicago, in November, the night was cool and comfortable. On the stage, accepting the decision from the people of the United States of America to be their 44th president was a tall, slender black man with the voice of an orator. What, in this picture, would you draw an ironic? All of it, right? It would seem that the stars were aligned to make this particular moment in history hopeful and filled with promise. “Yes we can!”, shouted the crowd, “Obama”, on the next go around…tears rolling down cheeks, eyes bright with disbelief looking up at this smiling, Lincolnesque man on the stage, turning and waving, turning and waving, and as we gaze, forgetting all the disappointment and frustration of the last 8 years we gently place on his shoulders the hope that he will perform miracles. “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it”. Abraham Lincoln: February 1850This, dear readers, is the essence of what happened last night. Hope leading to the desire to work hard--real hard--to see that hope realized. My mom knows what's ahead. She'll be working hard, like she always does, to make the world worthy of her, all the while wondering if she is worthy of us. She is. She'll do the all the work she can. Will you? Will I? Hope. Realize the hope!
I have faith! I believe, with all my heart that we citizens of this country have a man, now our president, who will act to restore our respect, heal our wounds, inspire us to new heights, and do no harm. He will carry out his mandate and urge us to sacrifice for the good of what is needed. We can do that…we’ve done it before! He won’t ask us to walk through fire, but whatever he asks, we won’t do it alone. Obama will be right there beside us, our general, with the mud on his shoes and the fatigue on his face, encouraging us, “just a little farther, just a little more, we’re almost there”. I am so proud to be alive at this moment in history. Vive l'Amerique!!