Friday, January 13, 2017

June 26, 2015

Tonight I got to watch the re-airing of the President's eulogy for Rev. Pickney's funeral as I got back to the hotel after a long day and a long week of doing my best to give these girls some tools to write songs, some confidence that music is in everyone and that music is not a competition and that music can be a way to express our secrets safely and can be a way to heal ourselves and our communities and can be a way to express joy and love and there was President Obama, stretching his own comfort zone, stretching from speech into song, into Amazing Grace, in a speech that was maybe the most moving oration I've ever heard in my lifetime, a lifetime that started with a misguided war and a deposed shady President, a lifetime that started in the year of the summer of love but a childhood under a cynical view of leaders and politics, names of the dead scrolling down the TV screen, long lines to get gas, a hostage crisis, a shooting of a president, the live explosion of the Space Shuttle on the TV in my Algebra class, my first vote being for someone for whom I didn't even really care except his Party allegiance, to my 20's when I could vote for someone I did stand behind who was dynamic and, in the end, completely disappointed me personally, not in his very human failing but in his equivocations which were insulting, to personally watching the Towers fall from the edge of the Hudson River and the dust of the debris gave me a bronchitis I couldn't kick for months, and a President who hovered over a darkness and deceit for 8 awful years and my cynicism grow until the day in 2007 when I heard that Obama had won while I was in a meditation retreat and away from cell phones and computers and television and had to celebrate silently, tears streaming down my face, to tonight, to this morning, to this heavily weighted gorgeously poignant week. A President of half a different skin color than my own with a middle name that made me think his election would be impossible in this very divided nation. A President of my own generation. A President who had a checklist of things to do when he arrived in 2008 and has sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly checked things off that list. A President who miraculously passed an affordable healthcare act that has allowed me to be able to have affordable healthcare and not go bankrupt trying to beat my asthma each winter. A President who paved the way for the Supreme Court today to rule that marriage is a right for every person, every citizen. A President who eulogized a man shot down by a racist and who sang "Amazing Grace". This day I want to remember my friend Dave Stefano, who came out to me my sophomore year of college, and, when I said, "oh, yeah, that's cool" he said to me, "No, I know it makes you uncomfortable and if you want to ask me any questions, let's do it" and he took me to an all night diner in Florence, MA and we sat up till dawn eating pancakes so I could ask him questions about how he knew, when did he know which honestly was the door that opened me from being ignorant and fearful of the unknown to being curious and open. And today I have spent this day unabashedly emotional in my patriotism. I did not think in my lifetime I'd ever see something like this. And by "something like this" I mean all of it.

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