I didn’t think I’d be able to say that in my lifetime, but it feels good. Cabana Boy got me Obama’s three books for Christmas. I read Dreams from My Father first. He wrote it before he went back for his law degree, and it was about his experience of and thoughts on race, as well as a reminiscence of his childhood. It was really cool. You could hear his voice in every word, and this man is truly and deeply intelligent and thoughtful. He’s also very honest (yes, he inhaled frequently) and very likeable. I usually only read fiction, but this book, with its vivid images of Hawaii and Indonesia, and glimpses of Kenya and the mythology of his father, had all the un-dry qualities that make me enjoy fiction. I only wish he had told more about meeting Michelle, but she probably vetoed that.

Having misplaced The Audacity of Hope, now I’m trying to read Change We Can Believe In. This one wasn’t written by him, but by his campaign. You can still hear his voice in places though. It’s essentially a listing of all of his campaign promises. As I struggle through it during interludes between library trips, I keep thinking that I should grab a highlighter and check off the promises as he keeps them. Only six weeks into his presidency, I’ve already found dozens that could be checked off! At the rate he’s going, he’ll have it all done by summer! Who does that? Who really means what they say on the campaign trail? President Barack Obama, that’s who. I love that man.

I also love that I can finally let go of some of the self-conscious guilt I’ve always felt about being white. Logically I know that I can’t help being white, and that I haven’t personally done anything to promote or condone inequality, but the guilt has always been there, regardless. But now, seeing young black men walking a little taller, meeting your gaze without so much resentment or hostility, I feel a slight lightening of that load of guilt and shame that our white forefathers bequeathed us. I feel like our whole nation has shaken off some of that burden, and I wish I could personally thank every single person who voted for Obama. I am so proud of us! I am so proud to show the rest of the world that we really are who we say we are.

Yes, in spite of the lovely moment I’m having here, I can nevertheless hear Republicans whining about the state of the economy. All I can say is, you people let George Bush drive it into the state it’s in for eight years. No one knows whether there is anything anyone can do to fix it at this point. President Obama is doing his best to fix it. (And shut up about the deficit–where were you with all your bitching about spending when Bush was handing out our country’s money to his cronies?) He’s only been in office for six weeks. I have faith that if it can be fixed, he’ll do it.

President Obama is so refreshingly thoughtful and intelligent and conscientious and unsullied by big business. Regardless of whether he can fix the economy, I am just so proud to have him as president that I can still be moved to tears by it. And for the first time in my adult life, I can say absolutely and without any trace of irony that I am proud to be an American.

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