Someone reminded me that I had posted this earlier on FB.
So I’m sitting here wondering what is next. And I can only ponder what it means to say someone, so far it is a man, perhaps it isn’t too far off that there will be a woman to consider too, but I wonder, what does it mean to say “who is MY president”? I know what my grandparents, my dad’s parents would say. There was only one answer: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My grandmother, “Gram”, said something one time, about the “war”. For me, the war that I grew up with was in Vietnam. I asked “what war?”. She let me know for her there was only one. It was the ultimate war for survival of who we are. And that’s why FDR was her president. Not only did he lead our nation out of the worst financial crisis of the 20th century, but with our alliance with Great Britain, and his friendship with Winston Churchill, he, they, quite frankly, they literally saved freedom in the world.
If I asked my mother, JaneMarie, “Who is your president?”, I have no doubt that she’d say JFK, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And she’d go on to tell me that he believed in a greatness of who we are, that he was killed, died so early, and never could follow through on the what he saw that we could be.
And the next part, there is a gap, it’s not so good. Those born after my mom and before me, they endured an ugly phase. Lyndon Baines Johnson showed them Vietnam, one of the worst periods in our nation’s history, and Nixon only made it worse.
So why am I recounting this history? Because I’ve seen my president. William Jefferson Clinton offered a glimpse of what we can be. He talked about the shining city on the hill. And? My president, the man who showed up, helped define what we can be, our generation, well, Barack Hussein Obama. He inherited the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression and got us out of it. How many millions more had jobs when he left than before we started? Yeah. He didn’t complete his vision. But there are 20 million, sorry, put it in all CAPS, 20 MILLION Americans who have healthcare today that wouldn’t have otherwise. Race still matters, and for those of us who listened, we learned we are more alike than different. For me, my president is Barry. He defined what we can be and took us on that path.
So what’s next? I have a daughter. She is an amazing kid, is becoming an amazing woman. She has seen the glory that we can be and is now experiencing the ugliness and the hate that is still here. I have seen my president. I look forward to her knowing hers. But it can’t happen if we give up the fight.