Hope is a thing with feathers and other thoughts on saying good-bye to President Obama
I have mostly kept quiet about the pending doom, I mean Inauguration. But today I felt like I had to publicly mourn and process my grief.
I have held a deep respect for Barack Obama since I first heard him speak in 2004. I have grown into my political and moral self while he has been our Senator and then President. He has given me Hope. He has made me proud. He is the only President my children know. He is centered and calm and thoughtful and gracious and curious and intelligent and joyful and compassionate. He is the kind of man I hope my sons become. It breaks my heart to think about what happens next week and how there couldn’t be a more opposite man on Earth.
I am having a hard time. I am grieving. I won’t “get over it”.
I will never get over it. This is my home and my country. I love America. I love my country enough to work hard to protect Democracy and Freedom. I love my fellow Americans so very much. And they disappointed me. So deeply disappointed me.
I’m not so worried about myself or my kids, we’ll be ok. I am worried about the poor families struggling to get by. I am worried about the protection of our human rights to our sexuality and health care. I am worried about my Muslim friends. I am worried about an increase in hate crimes. I am worried about the safety of my black and brown friends and neighbors. I am worried deeply about the future of our Republic.
This is and isn’t about one man. Donald J. Trump isn’t the problem. He’s the symptom. We have to heal ourselves. We have to heal America with community-building, action, compassion, and a deep commitment to who and what we are. We have to keep reaching for the realization of our values of Freedom, Justice, Equality, and Hope.
America isn’t perfect. Never has been. Never will be. But America is great. Not because of any historical fact or current event, but because America is Hope. This is what President Obama stirred in us and why his farewell is so hard for us. We are afraid of losing Hope.
Hope will not forsake us. Hope is the truest of friends.
As Emily Dickinson told us:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without words -
And never stops — at all-
And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet — never — in Extremity,
It asked a crumb — of me.