a blubbering gushing snot factory

I’m sick.

It’s my birthday and I’m sick.

It’s Inauguration Day and I’m sick.

Not wanting to share these germs far and wide, I watched Barack H. Obama (notice how he’s become a middle initial guy) take the presidential oath  of office while snuggling into my new electric blanket (happy birthday to me) right on this very couch. 

Where I listened to the words of the 44th President of the United States and I bawled my eyes out.  See, I’ve always been one whose been moved by talk of liberty and justice.  For years I couldn’t accept that my country was flawed, that the Forebearers dream was a limited dream whose scope covered only straight white male landowners.  I took on the failures of women, the failures of the working class, and the failures of queers as my own personal failures.  I once believed that this country – the USA – was divinely inspired – and that we were truly free.  As I came to understand the myth of meritocracy, as I came to understand the impact of oppression on the lives of citizens of the United States, when the cognitive dissonence won out over the rhetoric, I still held on to the ideals of freedom.  I looked forward to a time when what we say we are really is.  As I came to understand the falsehoods of this rhetoric, as I came to understand the history of slavery, of suffrage, of Internment Camps and Reservations, I still believed that we had to work for the day that our lives would mirror that which we were told we had.  I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance, but I never stopped yearning for it. 

And that yearning came dribbling out today as the snot and tears gushed down my face for 2 hours as if I were repeatedly watching the ending of Savannah Smiles or reading the last chapter of Flowers for Algernon.  The hope streamed down my cheeks where I swiped at it with my shirt sleeves and gathered it up with my tissue.

In the emotional perfection for me that was the Inauguration this morning, I still can’t shake the doubts that keep popping up in my head.  I’ve never given so much hope and belief and allegiance to a public official.  And even as I do, I fear being let down.  What if he faces the same fate as revolutionaries before him?  What if somehow Secret Service cannot keep him safe?  What if he hands the gays only crumbs?  And while he’s passing out crumbs, what if that is all any of us get?  And, I want to give credit for what an amazing step forward this day is, but I worry – what if his presidency becomes “proof” of the culmination of Dr. King’s dream?  What if racial justice actually takes a step back because our proof of overcoming slavery and inequality is embodied in that great man standing up there today?  There are people already saying such.

I’m optimistic.  I’m hopeful.  And I am ready for this change.


10 Responses to “a blubbering gushing snot factory”

  1. Carrie Says:

    The headlines of an article at KSL.com asks, “Is NAACP still needed”?

  2. K Says:

    love your writing – you have a great ability.

  3. the other Says:

    I watched and cried too. Never give up hope. If you are looking for something negative you will find it (the calendar’s made in Canada). You know what I mean.
    Love You

  4. Carrie Says:

    p.s. Happy Birthday!

  5. Mikey Says:

    First and foremost, Happy Birthday!!

    Second, I agree with “the other.” Hope is what keeps me getting up every morning, that piece of our Forefathers I still believe, that the United States are a place where hope lives, grown from dreams and somehow becomes a part of our reality. That was Barack H. Obama’s message during his campaign, hope. We have to believe it, otherwise it can’t come true, he is only as capable as the People, and if the People don’t have hope, and stop dreaming, how can we expect him to?

    I love you!!

  6. jen Says:

    you’re right, right, right. i agree completely.

    and i LOVE that you referenced savannah smiles AND flowers for algernon – two of my blubbery favorites!

    happy birthday!

  7. Doug Says:

    i never shed a tear sence ol yellow died

  8. Evan Says:

    Thank you (and Kim) for welcoming me into your home and allowing me to share this moment with you. I can’t think of more perfect couple to sit with me as we all witnessed this monumental event.

  9. J-Kay Says:

    I was also a wreck. I planned my day’s lessons around the monumental event. I did MLK jr. lessons the day before, then took the two days and tied them together with a thought provoking writing assignment and project. Going over the thoughts that all my students put down on paper and presented orally really made my emotions spin out of whack. They wrote about the change they want to see, the devastation that they might encounter because of ignorance, they mentioned their willingness to help and their confusion when it comes to knowing how to help. It was became to much for me to actually grade. They owned their thoughts and respected the thoughts of their classmates. Needless to say we started the journey of a new President right along side of Obama…with all A’s!

  10. breathingmoss Says:

    Happy belated birthday. I just love what you write. That is all.

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