J. Crew, The President and Rural King
Let me back up. I found out I was able to see Barack Obama when he came to Lima last week. I was ecstatic - it’s not every day you get this chance. I knew this would be something I’d never forget. I found out all the information, where to go and when, and made sure it was okay with Andy, because it was his birthday. Andy was cool with it.
I decided to wear J. Crew as a shout-out to Mrs. Obama. I arrived at the school and excitedly/nervously went through all the check points. Once I got into the gymnasium, my excitement skyrocketed. The energy in the room was on full blast. You could just feel it in the air. Something magical was about to happen.
As soon as the podium was being prepared, indicating Obama’s imminent arrival, the energy level went up even a few more notches. Several people spoke first before the president came out. The woman who sang The National Anthem gave me chills that started in my toes and crept up my legs to the tips of my hair. It was so clear, so full of feeling, and so beautiful.
Then it was showtime.
As soon as Obama started making his way to the stage, the electricity in the room soared. I felt like a giddy school girl. The feeling in that room is really indescribable. Everything Obama said was met with fervent, thunderous applause. There was such a sense of unity, of heartfelt expression from him, and of approval from everyone else. I haven’t experienced that since I went to Gay Pride in Columbus a few years ago. It’s hard to explain.
Obviously there are tons of issues that we’ll debate until we’re blue in the face. And we’re passionate about those issues – rightly so. But when President Obama said things like, “We’re in this together,” and “Everybody has a voice,” it made me feel differently than those political attack ads make me feel – which is annoyed, disgusted, and annoyed some more. His speech made me think more about all of us – every American – not just every liberal.
Yes, we’ll definitely have disagreements on various issues until the end of time. I just wish we could all experience, and hold onto, the strong sense of unity, pride, and hope that I got to experience on Friday.
As soon as the event was over, I was on a high. I felt great; I wanted to see someone, anyone, and tell them how amazing it was to see and hear the president. Between a family gathering for Andy’s birthday immediately following, and Andy wanting to spend some of his birthday money right after that, I didn’t get a chance to talk about it.
Our family recently moved – like last week – and even though that’s a good thing, I think I’ve had a ball of stress imbedded inside me from that, from trying to meet all kinds of writing deadlines (and worrying, as usual, that anything I write is good) and I think the magnitude of getting to see the president live turned into this catalyst. So I was at Rural King watching Andy try on various flannel shirts, and I just started crying. I sort of have a flair for having emotional breakdowns at the most inopportune moments anyway…when emotions hit me, they just hit me, and hard…and I can’t help where I am or what I’m doing. I think all the emotion that I felt at the event was inside me, waiting to spill over. What had just actually happened hadn’t hit me yet.
So maybe it just sounds stupid. And I didn’t start full-blown bawling right away…I really saved that for the ride home. But there I was, in the middle of Rural King, fully grasping just how important and real this election is. We hear it all the time, how important voting is…but seeing the president live, in person…I get it. I really get it. We are what make up this country…we are all powerful. I’m not saying everyone should have a cathartic moment in a farming supply store.
But please vote tomorrow.