I am a lucky woman. I grew up in middle class America, a suburb of Schenectady, surrounded by family and friends who lovingly guided me to know the difference between right and wrong. Every time I return from a trip to NYC visiting our kids, I am amazed at how well life works – even there! Confused with how to get to the museum, frantically studying my map on the street corner, someone always appears pointing me in the right direction. How about the older gentleman bent over, timidly stepping off the curb into the busy intersection when a steadying arm reaches out to guide him? I have on several occasions had young boys, blue jeans hanging, get up from their seats on crowded subways, and give me the nod to sit, reminding me once again of the words of Martin Luther King, “the time is always right to do what is right.”
Often as my kids were growing up I would say, “oh, I’m just from another planet,” somehow in defense of my always different point of view. Needless to say government infuriated me more often than not. Several years ago Barack Obama appeared on my radar. Not only did he speak to the minorities in our country, to the people who had no voice, and to those who came from nontraditional families, but he spoke to me. My wonderful father, an Albanian brick layer’s son, had little empathy for those who didn’t pull themselves up by the bootstrap and move on. He did it, why couldn’t they? I, the daughter of this successful businessman, worried about those left behind.
I look forward to turning sixty soon, what has just happened is the perfect icing for my birthday cake! In electing Barack Obama as our President, I have come to know what is after all, very right about America. It is us, we the people. When the going got tough, so tough that it seemed there was no way out, this man showed up – he came to our table. We could see he was unique, some of us read his books, we listened to him speak and we knew. We were paying attention and we figured out how to get him elected. We did the right thing…I feel relief. Now, I’m wondering, just what planet did he come from?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.