Pumice Stone

“I know the difference between a book club and this seminal moment in our history.” — Oprah Winfrey

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The first time I heard Barack Obama speak was the summer of 2004; we had the DNC playing on the big screen at work. I wept, sniffled and wept some more and as soon as his speech was over, I ran to the phone, called Andy and said without greeting, “That man is going to be our president someday.”

I exerted a lot of effort that summer. Raised money for the Kerry campaign, beaded & sold bracelets with slogans like “Kerry On”, studied the issues, memorized talking points, attended meetings, passed out bumper stickers in front of the Home Depot. I kept voter registration forms and campaign literature in my purse at all times for months on end.

On election day, I got all dressed up and volunteered as a non-partial poll worker. It felt like a holiday, like it was the day that things would finally start looking up.

We didn’t have cable TV at the time, so that night Andy and I went to a nearby restaurant to watch the returns. It was the same place that had hosted local Democrats for all of the debates. I sat there with my spreadsheets, checking off boxes & doing math as the talking heads rattled off the numbers. Before anyone called it, hours before anyone called it, I knew. I said to Andy, It’s impossible. We’ve lost. I showed him my figures and charts and he could see I was right. We packed up quickly. It was early, probably not even 9pm. Around us people were settling in with drink orders watching the TVs blissfully unaware. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. As soon as we got outside and began our walk home, I did scream. I did cry.

I don’t want to feel that way ever again.

My political ideals have been under a thick callous since that November. Thanks to Faboo Mama, tonight I watched Oprah’s recent 19 minute speech endorsing Barack. It was a little like a comforting soak in very warm, clean water.

5 thoughts on “Pumice Stone

  1. I like Obama. I saw him on Oprah a few years ago when he was running for the Senate office in Illinois. I liked him then, there was something fresh and new about him, something that other politicians seem to lack. He seemed human. After reading his book “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance”, I liked him even more. The last election to me was like voting for as my mother called it, “The lesser of two evils”. The 2008 election I hope offers the opportunity for me to, for the first time pull the lever of a candidate I truly believe in! I am a registered Republican, and I fully support, Barack Obama. I like him so much I’ve considered changing my political affiliation so that I can vote for him twice!

  2. Yes, as they say on The West Wing: he’s the real thing.

    Jenn, you just gave me the biggest Christmas gift ever! I’m going to be singing that to myself all day–the sound of your “voice” as you say, “I am a registered Republican, and I fully support, Barack O’Bama. I like him so much I’ve considered changing my political affiliation so that I can vote for him twice!”
    Sweetness.
    So glad to hear it.

  3. Jenn’s not alone either. Many of the Republican women I know are fully supporting Obama. I know a lady who actually voted for crazy Alan Keyes who’s been volunteering for Obama.

    Ruth, you encompassed my emotions in 2004. I remember the day after the election walking around my Hollywood apt. and people were red-eyed from crying. The Starbucks was silent. We went down to Farmers Market and there were no smiles, not even from most of the tourists. We had the opportunity to change the direction of this country and it got worse. We have a new opportunity now and I hope that election shenanigans and conformist thought don’t sabotage it again.

  4. We drove to a swing state in ’04 for the Kerry campaign.

    We saw Obama in ’06 and I thought the same thing, this guy is going to be president one day. I didn’t think it would be so soon.

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