Iím a 43-year-old white male. Iím married and have a blended family, three daughters (two teenagers daughters -God help me) and one son. I just became a first time grand father last week. Iíve been a registered democrat since I could vote. Iíve never voted Republican.
Iíve been a supporter of Obama since he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Not because he is a superb orator. I mean he is. Absolutely. He could read the Chinese menu from around the corner and Iíd listen. The truth of it is that Obama speaks to a part of me that I thought was long gone. He speaks of change and hope.
Heís someone from my age group that grew up in the 60ís and 70ís and probably felt that same sense of hope that was being touted then. Peace and love to be sure but also the idea that we could do something different, that we mattered as a people. Frankly, I felt robbed when I realized that despite the civil rights movement there was still rampant inequality everywhere I looked. That women were still being treated unfairly and being paid less as if the sexual revolution never happened.
My mother was 17 years old when she had me. We lived in rural Minnesota. She spent her youth being a single mother and always instilled in me a sense of fairness. She instilled equality to women, to black people, to everybody, and also a kind of basic humanity as recipe for a good life in me. She gave me faith in justice and in doing the right thing.
She stormed out of my great grandparents house on the day Martin Luther King was assassinated because one of my country bumpkin uncles made a racist comment about it. That sort of thing tends to get carried with you.
I grew up believing that people could be better than their circumstances. I grew up believing that in America there was real chance at a good life.
I remember finding out, as I grew older that a lot of what I held as basic beliefs were mired in gray areas. That other kids were taught quite the opposite. The racism, sexism, and radical religion had much stronger hold on the world that I ever thought was popular.
Iím an artist by trade and Iíve spent a good deal of my life freelancing in commercial art. In many ways I became exactly what I wanted to be. I got my American dream.
The sad thing is now we stand on the verge of real change. Yet the old regressive ways of politics are trying to spin our country into following the old ways. Iíve grown tired of this and I believe that that people that are going out and voting in state after state are feeling the same way.
My wife works at a community college. I stopped and spoke with a young African American volunteer at Obamaís table a few days before the caucus here in Minnesota. I saw that familiar hope gleaming in her eyes. She had that sense of being involved and being part of the process. She hadnít had the hope beaten out of her by cynicism and a loss of faith in her dreams.
Iím sure the next few months are going to be filled with mudslinging and negative campaign strategies. It always happens that way. Itís already started. Theyíve started in on Michelle Obama (thanks Fox news -Fair and balanced as always). Hillary Clinton is supposedly sharpening up her attack. Whatever that means.
But for once I think the media spin machines are going to fail. I think that younger generation isnít buying what they are selling. They see it for what it is; regressive, more of the same, you know... bullshit. The people are standing up and not taking anything at face value any longer.
I think that this sense of hope is real and people are behind what has essentially become a social movement. With Barack Obama as their leader. Heís a realist with strong ideas and intelligent solutions. He instills confidence and hope in these kids I see everyday. Itís inspiring. Itís real.
Maybe thatís idealistic and naÔve of me. But thatís okay. For my kids and my baby grand daughter Iíll be a hope monger. It makes me feel young again.Posted by shawn at February 20, 2008 01:54 PM