Yes we (still) can

All right you guys. Tomorrow is the day that President Obama goes forward to being a private citizen (I won’t says “goes back” because I refuse to go back). Eight years ago, I was elated and proud and 24. I wrote this:

Yes We Can

Eight years later, I am the same and I am different. I’m older, obviously. I have a chronic illness that took five years to figure out how to treat (I never would have seen that coming in 2008). I have two little babies who I love more than I have ever loved anyone in my life. I have a godson and nephews and nieces who were lucky enough to be born under an Obama presidency, and I am lucky enough to have them all in my life.

I think I’m a little more realistic now. A little more even, and I move a little bit slower (figuratively and also literally).I have read more books, and learned more things.

I have Hamilton lyrics to guide me now (not even kidding, you guys).

But I also still feel dedicated to my country. To my right to free speech, and my right to healthcare. My right to choose, and the right to marry whoever you love. The right we all have to the pursuit of happiness, and I still feel angry when I think about how many Americans are refused that right.

I feel smarter about racism today than I did eight years ago. I know now that there is so much work to do, and that electing President Obama doesn’t mean racism is over.

Since the election, I’ve been head down in books like Just Mercy and The New Jim Crow. I have so much learning to do. I have more fight in me now than I did at 24, and while I have less energy than I did eight years ago, the energy I do have is deep and it’s intense in a way I didn’t know how to be in my early twenties. I was frenetic, now I’m focused.

Our children are watching us, and while I understood that before, now I have to answer to it.

So I won’t lie, my chickadees. Tomorrow for me will be hard. I will cry, I’m sure of it. I’ll look at Ellie and think about how the country elected a man who said he grabs women’s pussies, and I will feel hopeless. It will be worse when I remember that there are Americans who have convinced themselves voting for him does not mean they condone the man he is.

But chickens, in the words of a man who has proved to be full of grace and determination and goodness,

“In the unlikely story that is America there has never been anything false about hope.”

Let’s get right back to it. There is work to be done.


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Filed under Chicago, Politics, Reflections

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