Thursday, August 28, 2008

For John, and Martin, and Anna

Something is wrong with me.

I keep watching the Democratic convention, and I keep crying. Crying!

I know, you’re thinking, Who even watches a convention, let alone cries? Put down the C-SPAN and eat some chocolate, woman!

Yeah, I know. It’s half boring business convention and half rah-rah rally, and I shouldn’t get sucked in. But in between the charged rhetoric and the glammed-up theatrics, I keep seeing these moments of humanity that remind me that these are real people working for their real convictions for how the real world should be.

The overflowing pride of Marian Robinson for her little girl, Michelle.
Michelle Obama steadying Barack's frail old great-uncle Charlie Payne—an interracial family, like mine.
The free-flowing affection of the Biden family, from feisty grandmamma on down.
Lily Ledbetter, who will never personally benefit from the justice she keeps seeking for America’s daughters.
The old African American delegates from all over the country, blinking back tears because they thought they’d never see this day.
Even (good God!) Hillary had me choking up, not at her words but simply to see the clear bond between her and Chelsea.

Oh what an America we would be if we could all be so proud of our families and work so hard for our convictions.

After Barack Obama was officially nominated, one of the networks caught Rep. John Lewis for quick interviews on the floor. In 1965 John Lewis stood and prayed and took a beating on a bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the right of black Americans to be able to register and vote. In his lifetime he will be able to vote for a black man who calls himself a son of Selma because he knows that when he was born, many like Lewis were still being beaten bloody for his right to vote.

That doesn’t mean everyone should vote for Obama—such decisions are based on many factors. I have many friends who won’t, and that’s fine. But I hope that despite our differences we can appreciate that this moment in history is possible because many have stood bravely, many have toiled thanklessly, and yes, many have dared to hope.

So when Barack Obama accepts the nomination for president tonight, yes, I will cry. I am not ashamed to be emotionally overwhelmed by witnessing this moment and knowing I was a part of it.

I will cry knowing that this year, America helped make John Lewis’s dream come true.

I will cry remembering how 45 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream helped make my dream come true.

And here she is.

My tears, my joy, my dreams, my work for a better world are for her.

There has never been anything false about hope.


Jenny said...

And I will cry reading this. Thank you for putting words to my feelings of why this is so important, whether we vote for him and agree with his politics or not.

Even though you may need some chocolate if Hillary has you choking up!

Karen said...

You brought tears to my eyes.

Ren said...

You hit the nail right on the head. It doesn't matter what your party affiliation is or if you LOVE Obama. We are witnesses to a dramatic moment in our Country's history. We literally had people fighting about whether the Democratic Party should nominate a Woman or a Black man! It's just amazing!
And Wendy, stop making me cry!

PunditMom said...

A true beauty!!

KARIN said...

Well, I also cried my way through the DNC. I thought every bit of it was brilliant. But then, I cry every time I hear Martin Luther King's I have a Dream speech. I've never been so proud to be a Democrat as I was watching the convention.

Your daughter is a beauty!