A short story.
I will never forget that day. Walking through the pouring rain to the tent where the other graduates had already begun to gather. Ignoring the breakfast items on offer and slowly edging our way to the front of the crowd. Sprinting at full speed across the water logged field in a dress and robe, stumbling as my heels sank into mud, and urging my friends to continue on ahead of me. It sounds unreal, like a dramatic scene from a movie, but it actually happened. All so that we could claim the closest possible seats to the commencement stage where, in three hours, President Barack Obama would make the keynote speech.
On my way home from work on Friday, I was suddenly reminded of this memory and could not stop smiling. I am not hugely into these kind of ceremonies. I attended only two of my high school dances (one of them being prom) and I didn't even make my master's graduation, but I honestly remember this being one of the best days of my life. Of course my friends, family and my pride in my own achievements contributed to this, but even then I understood just how privileged I was to be given such a rare and inspirational send-off. I was so in awe by Mr. Obama that, although I listened intently to his speech, I was completely unable to retain anything and later on had to be reminded of what he had actually said. It was a day of complete and utter bliss. A perfect day - even with the morning rain.
What struck me then about this man was how excited we all were by the opportunity - even though almost two years had passed since the hype of his election. Even after two years the stadium pulsed with pride in our president and with delight at the chance to hear him speak live and in the flesh. And today, as we move toward the November elections, it strikes me again that the happiness I feel when I think about Barack Obama has not diminished or been marred by the events of the last three-and-a-half years. On the contrary, the sheer glee and giddy sense of hope that I am filled with every time I think about him has held strong, if not grown with each passing day.
Hearing people get so excited about the Democratic National Convention over the last few days and watching the speeches myself has filled me with so much pride. My only regret is that I cannot be watching the speeches with my fellow voters. I am so excited and hopeful about a future that involves Barack Obama. I am proud that so many of my friends are committing to educating themselves and others, and to making the ultimate contribution to our country. Pride. That is it. Just so much pride.
Bill Clinton - 12 years later and still sexy.
We have an exciting couple of months ahead of us folks! More election thoughts to come.
Love and hope.