I cried over the President on Sunday. Thrice.
Usually when I say I cried about something, I’m just exaggerating for effect. I’ll admit that I overuse and misuse the phrase, but in terms of yesterday, actual tears came out of my eyes, and my face was puffy for almost 20 minutes after.
The Electoral College, the keepers of democracy in these United States, made Barack Obama President when I was 10 years old. I remember the day after his election, my nanny took me to Whole Foods to buy a snack for the celebratory party we were having in school that day. We were both wearing Barack Obama T-shirts; she a middle aged Jamaican woman, and me, a white-passing mixed race girl. Normally, there’s an air of tension in overpriced health food stores. The cashiers are generally young black kids, and the customers, as WASP-y as they get. I always feel very uncomfortable, watching the racial biases of America play out in the grocery line. But not on November 5, 2008. On this day, it was like every single white person in the store wanted to hold hands with my nanny, me, and all the cashiers, while singing Kumbaya or Aretha Franklin. I remember my nanny engaging in lengthy conversation with a suited-up limousine liberal about how Obama showed her son that there were legitimate opportunities available to him as a black man, past the drug trade or professional sports. The man didn’t listen to her speak with a look of shock or disgust. He didn’t patronize her either. He just listened, and smiled, genuinely, and told us that he was excited for America.
Maybe we thought that racism would die. Maybe we were just sick of Dubya. I don’t remember how exactly I felt, besides excited to make fun of the kids with Republican parents at school, but I should’ve savored those moments
Obama was re-elected when I was in eighth grade. At the time, Hurricane Sandy had smacked the hell out of the Northeast, so I was preoccupied. I wish I’d savored this time, too. I wish I’d understood that it’s not every day a President is re-elected. It’s not every day this President is Barack Obama.
Through the most pivotal time in my life—my coming of age—the most famous figure in America was a mixed-race black man with whom I shared similar political beliefs. He was the age of my own parents, and had two kids who were the age of my brother and I. His dog was hypoallergenic like mine. He listened to Kendrick Lamar and appeared on Between Two Ferns. One time, he called Kanye West a jackass. He wore a khaki suit once, because FUCK IT! He was handsome. He was cool. He was—the best.
I will be 18 when Barack Obama turns the Presidency over—not to D*****d T****p, I hope. I dread this day.
But, I will savor these my last few months with Obama. I’ll try to save my tears for once he’s actually gone. ♦