Tag Archives: Barack

Tonight we give thanks

Whoa, friends, what a news night Sunday turned into.

In case you haven’t heard.

While I heard Brian Williams say that it is unnatural to feel good because of the death of someone (even if they’re pretty much the worst), and I am with him, because really, it is unnatural to feel that way, there’s no use in pretending like this isn’t an event which makes us all feel better.

Better that our troops have gotten the biggest win they can get.

Better that families from 9/11 can feel like no, we did not forget you, and yes, we got the bad guy.

Better that when you turned on the news last night, no one was talking about whose birth certificate said what, or who was a fraud, but instead, just a bunch of American flags waved in the wind and people were content to be, at the root of it, American.

Without connotation, without splitting it any further into which party or which sector or which level of education or which race thought what about who.

And that felt pretty good.

Now, I am not so naive as to think that this will last very long, because another thing that makes us all Americans is our ability to have a difference of opinion on pretty much everything, even when it feels petty or exhausting.

But, if you think about it, that’s at the root of why we’ve been fighting this guy and his network of terror all along.

“The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
-President Obama 

Now chickadees, that’s a good note to start the week off on, don’t you think?

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We’re serious about this?

Okay, so I had several items on my docket that I felt like sounding off about today. Like the fact that maybe I am a novice after all, because my five mile run was excruciating. Or that it was hard to get anything done today, because Oprah was conducting a three ring circus directly outside my building (although James Taylor was there, so mostly, all is forgiven).

But then I was reading CNN and thinking about something my mom was talking to me about today, and I just got all fired up.

So we’re gonna talk about that.

This is the text of the speech our elected President of these United States gave today.

Isn’t it good?

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure here, I am nearly as liberal as they come. Well, that’s not true. But I’m pro-choice, I don’t mind that my taxes help pay for government programs, and I think that probably, we don’t need to have AK47s in our homes and we probably shouldn’t have gone into Iraq under the guise of a giant search for WMDs.

Take that to mean what you will.

Now, in the spirit of a former journalist student, I don’t see any clear, political bias in this speech. Nothing in here screams “SOCIALIST AMERICA!” or even, quite frankly “Democrat” to me. What this appears to me to be is an appeal by the most powerful man in the world to do your best. More directly, to work hard, do your homework, and stop making excuses for why you can’t. What a simple and positive message.

However, in the town where I graduated from high school, they decided this was too much. It might be seen as political.

It might even (gasp) upset someone.

Turn it off! Please!

Now, I’ve lived in the Midwest for 10 years, and I know that Chicago is a different world than this semi-suburban, sort of rural town in Michigan, but honestly, we’re really truly worried about upsetting someone over the message of “Please do the very best you can”?

We are. Because in the small town Midwest (and I am generalizing here, I know I am), we don’t want to cause any unrest. We don’t want to offend anyone.

Are you bored yet of this idea? Because I am. And, I’m offended.

I’m sure this isn’t the only town that chose this option. This idea of sweeping something under the rug in an effort to downplay any controversy that it might cause is nothing new, and quite honestly, it is anti-American. We’re supposed to be a nation of free speech and differing ideas.

This whole country is based on the idea that our future is invested in our children, and that our children can be anything or anybody who they want to be because of the education and opportunities they are offered. Everyone, not just school children, could use a reminder of that from time to time.

But in this particular town, we didn’t do that. We instead divided people, acknowledging that this might be something political, and therefore partisan and divisive. Does anyone else see this as circular reasoning?

And what I would really like to know is, how do you downplay this one? If your seven year old asks you why your school didn’t air the speech given by the President, what do you say?

We didn’t want to risk upsetting anyone.

It doesn’t stand up. But President Obama’s message does. And it wasn’t political until someone decided to make it that way.

And if we’re ever going to get ourselves together and be a unified nation, we better knock off calling things political when they’re not. We need to figure out how to come together and realize that there is no party that doesn’t want a more educated and successful next generation. There is no party that does not want the USA to do better.

So when someone wants to encourage the millions of kids in the midst of a recession and uncertainty that they are our future, that they can do whatever they put their minds to, guess what? We should let him.

I’m going to leave this with one of my favorite sentences from this speech. And I want someone to please let me know what’s partisan about it. What about it is propaganda?

And please, don’t worry about upsetting me. That’s never bothered me.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
-President Barack Obama

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What a blessed day.

“So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive… that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations. ”

-President Barack H. Obama

Obama’s Inaugural Speech

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And Tomorrow is a New Day…

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day everyone! I’ve been oddly fascinated by the Civil Rights since I was ten years old (I was always wondering if I could pull off Rosa Parks for a Halloween costume, but could never figure out how to do it justice), and on the dawn of the new presidency, I’m feeling even more emphatic about it. I think the fact that my generation, in large part (but not all) doesn’t think about race as a good thing or a bad thing, or even a thing at all, is a testament that we’re moving in the right direction, in the direction where we DO hold hands and judge each other based on the content of our character. I think my fascination with the Civil Rights movement has been the absolute awe and respect I have for those who give up everything, their lives included, for the chance to really make life better for those of us who come next. I hope to one day feel that strongly about something so important, and to have the courage to act on it.

So that’s an important thing to remember, at least once a year.

Of course, the other big ticket item on the agenda this week is the inauguration tomorrow. My good friend B and I had a conversation about the inauguration and its seemingly giant price tag this morning. We disagreed, as we do about everything (How am I supposed to relate to a White Sox fan? You tell me.), but he did get me thinking, which he generally does. We are in financial crisis, and we are at war. Times are not golden. Perhaps it’s not the time for celebration on such a massive scale?

However, I saw a video today of the masses of people on the Mall in Washington D.C. and something clicked. This celebration is not about one man. It’s not about one victory. It’s about millions of people across this nation who, for the first time in a lot of cases, care about our government and our Constitution and our future as a country. We have remembered our humble beginnings and our great accomplishments, and we will work hard to move forward. But first, we should celebrate, we should hug and sing and cry and wave our flags and be proud that we are Americans. Proud that we are part of a historical moment that we will remember forever. Proud that for the first time in years, we as Americans are being encouraged to come together and be united in a way that we’ve been holding back on for years. We do have a lot of work ahead of us, and a lot more hardship that will rise up in our way. But we are a great nation and as one of the presenters noted today (attibuted to a president, which one I cannot place at this moment), America is known best for what it does during tough times. This is what makes us as great as we are.

Tomorrow will be a new day, and I can’t wait.

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A new day!

So I was in Grant Park on Tuesday night. Jon and I met after work, changed into jeans, ate some Chipotle, and hustled down to Hutchinson field with what felt like the entire population of the world. After meeting up with Katie and Kylah, going through a few well-managed checkpoints, and getting herded into a field full of other Obama supporters, we were set for the next seven hours. This is actually a lot less time than I anticipated, explaining to my friends that I was in this for the long haul. I would stay as long as I had to, since that seemed the least I could do.

Let me tell you what I saw. I saw over 100,000 people standing in close quarters. Black, white, Asian, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, old, young–it was a true melting pot of the American spirit. There was no pushing, no ill will–just the electricity of thousands of people who had worked so hard and hoped so long that this day would come and that they would be there to see what could be. What, we found out only hours later, would be.

CNN played on the jumbo screen, and while the results came in and the commentators spoke, the field remained nearly silent. When a projection came in and it was for Obama, we cheered. Random chants of “Yes we Can!” and “Yes we will!” broke out among the crowd. People waved giant flags, and everyone smiled cautiously at each other. After winning PA and OH, those smiles widened–although it wasn’t over yet, victory was in sight.

I will never forget the moment in which I found out Barack Obama would be our next president. Cheering broke out so loudly, but I couldn’t see the screen, so I assumed we had won a key state.  Jon lifted me in the air, and I saw the screen projecting that Barack Obama was our next president. I looked around at the people screaming, crying, and embracing, and I started to cry. I couldn’t believe that this day had finally come, that it was really happening. After eight long years of being on the side of the frustrated, disappointed American people, our day had come. We were getting another chance.

After that came John McCain’s concession speech. Much to my amazement (and my delight), the crowd was silent again. We listened to a man who had given up years of his life to the American people concede the highest office in the land, and do so with such class that again, I wanted to cry. His message was clear–we may have lost, but it doesn’t matter. It is time to unite. This was the John McCain that I had wanted to see for the year, and here he was. The crowd in Hutchinson Field clapped and cheered–they did not jeer him. As Barack has told us, there is not a blue American and a red America. There is a United States of America.

When Barack finally came out (after a rousing round of “Sweet Home Chicago” which got everyone dancing and clapping), the applause was deafening. The crying began again. Our new President explained to us that this was not the end, but the beginning. That there is a lot of work to be done. His message was clear. We have reached a new place in America, but we will have to work to keep it going, to make this country great. He holds us as accountable as much as we hold him accountable, and I’m up for the challenge. I went home that night and felt accomplished, relieved, and exhausted.

When I woke up the next morning, everything seemed a little brighter. A little more hopeful. We were looking for change, and here it comes. Here comes a new era for the greatest country in the world. God Bless America.

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A new start…

So my other blogging attempts have basically fallen on their miserably, custom-designed faces. I think that maybe I was trying too hard to focus on one thing (books) or to use it as a diary (which I already have, hidden under my bed). So this is going to be an open forum for my thoughts on urban living, eco-friendly topics, politics, running, cooking, good times, and whatever else it is that I am up to in my life. I think in a fragmented, scattered, hectic way, so I don’t know why I try and write in an organized manner 🙂

So here’s a list of things that’s on my mind lately–

1. The election next week–anyone who knows me knows that my allegiance is to one of Chicago’s favorite sons, Barack Obama. The man has a powerful way with words, and is an amazing leader, speaker, and all around man. I think that he’ll bring a lot of insight and change to our country, and if one more person says we can’t change this country, I will seriously projectile vomit on them. You really don’t think we can’t EVER change ANYTHING about this country? Then you might as well roll over and die, because really, what’s the point?

2. I have recently become obsessed with eating, shopping, and living locally. I have always liked cooking (but not baking–oh no, that is far too exact a science for someone inept at using measuring cups or remembering whether or not I have added the sugar), but this is taking it to a new level. I like the challenge of using locally grown produce to make my nightly meals (though my boyfriend Jon might get sick of winter squash as we head into the colder months), and I like the idea of eating seasonally. Because seriously, people who eat strawberries in Chicago in January have always made me a little skirmish. It’s like people who are uber tan in the winter–there’s something a little unnatural about it. Anyway, if you’re interested in all the moral, health-related, politically reasons that we should all think more about what we eat, where it comes from, and what happens to it along the way, I recommend some light reading (I warn you, I am not an expert…yet.):

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

This one makes you feel good–it’s set up more like a journey novel, with Kingsolver at the helm. Her pledge to eat locally for a year and her adventures in doing so are informative and at times, hysterical (let me just say this: poultry sex. More fascinating than you would think). This book changed my life a little, and I liked it.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan

This one’s more like a good Italian Catholic mammina–once you understand what it’s saying, you start to feel pretty guilty. However, it has a lot more scientific information than the Kingsolver, and it reinforces a lot of the topics she touches on. I would recommend it for people who really want to learn more about why they should eat locally and seasonally. Also, there is a good section on pig hunting–intriguing, I tell you!

In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan

I liked this one too, but it was a short, easy read that basically covered things I already knew about. However, some of the interesting material in this one deals with how our body reacts to different combinations of food, and how instead of becoming food-centric, this nation has become nutrient-centric. Don’t know what the difference is? I didn’t either, until I read this book.

3. It’s fall in Chicago. While this means that my arch enemy (Winter Misery) is approaching, it also means Halloween, harvests, soup making, baked goods (created by professionals, not me), and football. I am sure that these are all things I’ll get to in the next few months.

Okay, so three isn’t that many, but it’s a start, right? Look for more from me, until then, I’m out of here.

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