Yes We Can, Again

Saying Goodbye to My President from 35,000ft

My #YesWeCan Moment happened rather unexpectedly, coming back from Motor City.

Streaming through the night sky en route from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan to my home in San Francisco, there were tears streaming down my face. Rumor has it humans are more emotional on planes, but I don’t think the tube flying 35,000 feet above the earth was the culprit. These weren’t Trump tears, mind you. These were tears of respect. Tears of honor. Tears of a woman who voted for her first President and he was black. He was young. He promised the kind of change she believed in. That I believed in.

You see, Barack Obama isn’t just a public figure to me, he’s a person. A person that I have touched, and if we’re fully disclosing, a human who’s ass I accidentally grabbed once. He is the first person I legally cast my ballot for. The leader of the government I first paid taxes to as a first time female entrepreneur at 21 years old. He is the first person who fought to insure my mother and I, both sole proprietors.

And he’s right. The country is better. Race relations are better. Unemployment is down and insurance coverage is up. Iran is disabled an Osama no longer haunts our nightmares and Sunday cartoons. The country is better because of the work we all did together.

I didn’t know what the outcome of the election was going to be when I was The White House for South by South Lawn in early October, but that wouldn’t have changed how I spent the day. SXSL was a very moving experience for me. Notably, it was the most diverse crowd (in every axis) I’ve ever been apart of. Races, genders and religions of every variety were there in the grass. And it was beautiful.

After the credits of Leo’s new climate change movie ran through, I lingered as long as I could. It was the energy I wasn’t ready to let go of. Both of the crowd, and of this presidency. I knew no matter how we voted, Barack Obama was not going to be our president much longer. Feeling the grass between my toes (I also knew this may be the only time I could be barefoot at the casa blanca) I reflected on everything Barry and us have done together. All the things we have accomplished.

The secret service made their efficient sweep across the lawn, and I walked as slowly as physically possible off that grass. I think we both know what both were doing, and I looked just motivated enough to follow the rules to squeak out a few more moments, at home with my President. When it was time, when I was just about to return to the real world, I stopped. I turned about face. I raised my hand and I saluted the leader of the Free world.

I did not hide my tears in seat 15F. I did not feel shame asking the black female flight attendant for more napkins. I did not cry like “a baby” or like “a bitch.” No, I cried like a woman proud of her country and her fellow citizens. I was seated next to a middle-aged Asian woman and while she was less obvious than I, it was clear the President’s words had touched her too. As we deplaned, I placed my hand on her shoulder and said “For what it’s worth, I’m very glad we were seat mates and both so moved tonight.” She turned in the cramped cabin, started me straight in the eye and reached out with the gentlest touch. “You have a very good night. I am glad too.”

Yes, we can. We did. And we shall again. It is the creed at our core.

How did the speech make you feel? I’d love to engage your comments below.

Recommending stories like this are what allow me to keep righting. Your ❤ goes a long way!