10 Years ago, you couldn't have told me we'd come this far

Last night, much to her chagrin, I called Stella into the living room and made her watch Barack Obama's speech with me. She was pissed because she was right in the middle of some Neopets crap on the computer.

Lots of people who think they know me don't know that fundamentally, I'm extremely passionate about politics and the effect it has on this country which, actually, I love. But those who know me know that I rarely blog about it because I spent a good portion of my young adulthood actually working in it and it burnt me out and made it a tad (?) bitter. Last night was a good time to forget the bitterness. Until Stella started giving me an attitude about why she needed to be there.

"Look, Stella, lemme tell you something," I said to her, with that voice I get (and her accompanying eye-rolling) that indicates it's time for one of my big picture lectures. "When I was 9 years old like you are now, we all crammed into a room to watch Neil Armstrong set his foot on the moon. We knew it was important, because we were told it was important, and we though it was fairly cool, but frankly, we kind of took it for granted because we had been watching Star Trek and all sorts of stuff like that, and we knew it was only a matter of time that it would come to this. But we still knew it was kind of cool, and there were enough adults who assured us that it was worth missing recess to see something like this, that this country could put this together, and when Neil Armstrom said 'One Giant Leap for Mankind' we finally got it. I'll never forget it, and I'll thank Mrs. Hartshorne forever for canceling recess so that we could drag the TV in the room so we could see it. And I have something in common with everybody my age who calls themselves an American -- I can tell people exactly where I was when I saw one of the most significantly wonderful milestones in our history happen.

"And here's the thing. You best believe my mom, your grandmother, when she was pregnant with me only 10 years earlier, would never have believed that we were only 10 years away from such a thing. Oh yeah, Kennedy said we were going for it, but really, that was just so out of the realm of thinking of the average person in 1960 that they all though, 'Well, that would be nice, but I'm not betting the farm on it' " So it was also a moment my mom and I shared when I got home from school, and I know she was amazed and happy about it too.

"You don't realize this, Stella, but when I was pregnant with you, you couldn't have told me that we were only 10 years away from having a black president. You couldn't have told ANYBODY that we could do something this significantly great, rise above our stupid divisive things, and even come as far as having a black person lead a major party ticket, and in fact, have his top contender for the spot be a woman. And you couldn't have told anybody in this cynical day and age that for once, we'd be voting for somebody who was smart, who we could actually vote FOR instead of voting against somebody else. And here he is, Stella, and we're all gathered around the TV to watch him make the speech that could very well make or break his shot at making major history. It's finally going to happen, this could be one of the most significant events of this part of your life that you share with everybody else in your generation and I have to ask you this:

"What do you want to tell people the rest of your life when they ask you where you were when Barack Obama made The Speech? Trust me, you don't want the answer to be 'Fucking around on Neopets Dot Com' for chrissakes."

I'm proud to say she lost her attitude, cracked open a soda, and cheered along with us last night.


Annie said…
What a wonderful story, and how well you explained it to her! Kudos!

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