Now I See…

I cried watching President Obama’s inauguration almost 8 years ago… why?  What did it mean to me?  I was a 42 year old Jewish girl from West L.A., a mother, a teacher, and living in a small town in Oregon.  Why did watching this man, just a few years older than I, raise his hand next to his beautiful wife, and pledge to lead our country, move me so?  Tonight I watched it again on t.v. … and again, I cried…

Obama represents to me the hope that America is better than it’s past, that we are bigger than bigotry, that we have respect for a minority race, and that no matter what your background, the American Dream is alive and well… even you can become the president of the United States… You with the name of Hussein, you with a black father from Kenya, you with ashy legs and a strong woman by your side… you can rally not just black America, but white America too…

He has lead with grace and conviction… sometimes unsure about how strong a stand to take, sometimes worried about how he would be perceived by either white or black America, he has struggled being blocked by his congress on all policies… he is not much older than I am, and he, too, is still learning… he has been thrown more tragedy than many others.  You may not like his policy on health care, on Israel, on LGBTQ rights, or on economics… but he has lead this country with grace and dignity.

I watched as he sang ‘Amazing Grace’ at the funeral of yet another young African American boy… and again I cried… but I cried because I can’t imagine our next president (or even a future president) moving me in such a profound way, or behaving in a way that evokes such love and spirit for our fellow man.

When our next president takes that oath of office, I will try not to cry… I know that many minority and LGBTQ friends are terrified of what Trump’s presidency will mean to them… I know that many people all over the world are terrified of what his presidency means to them… me… I will be mourning the hope I felt 8 years ago, when America stood up and said ‘we are ready for you’… ‘we are ready to move on’… sadly, not all of us were ready.

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