I was about twelve years old when my mom and dad woke my brother and I up to go to Columbia to the Obama rally. We were poor and couldn’t afford to buy food on the way, so we just packed sandwiches and juice (likely Capri Sun). Now, to be perfectly honest with you, seeing the first potential black president was great and all, but my priorities were mixed up and I was more excited to see Oprah. Still excited to see Obama! But, you know…Oprah. It was such a great day full of excitement and wonder. I spotted Gayle King in the stands and when I saw Oprah, I completely lost it. I am now embarrassed by my previous reaction, which included screaming and when I stopped screaming, I bawled. I was not a pretty sight. I ugly cried y’all. I was also introduced to the group Arrested Development at this rally and now “Everyday People” is one of my favorite songs. If I remember correctly, this was all a prelude before Obama showed up onstage. In hindsight, it is easy to say that Barack Obama possessed many of the traits that he has today. He had swagger, style, grace, spoke like a scholar of the people, and a smile to charm them all. I remember the last thing he said at the rally. It was a chant. “Fired up! Ready to go!” Then he ended with a resounding “Let’s go change the world!” I remember echoing him in the crowd. It was amazing! My mom said that he was going to be the next president.
It was refreshing to see such a graceful example of an African American man. When he became the president the first time, I was overjoyed and smiling. The second time, I was dancing in the house. No one could tell me anything that day! I never cared about the presidents before and that’s no offense to previous presidents, but I think I had a right to not really be concerned. I was twelve and was more concerned about twelve-year-old things. I mean, I knew it for the history test, but it was a load of humdrum to me. However, the election of Obama really made me believe that anything was possible for me, as a person of color. Really. Anything was possible!
Still, I lived in a school district where people said otherwise. I went to school in a predominantly caucasian school district, so most of my friends were caucasian, which was not a problem. In 2008, the problem was that they confused me with wild and outlandish accusations about President Obama. In 2012, the problem was that one of my best friends yelled at me across the high school cafeteria indicating that I only voted for Barack Obama because of his skin color. (Note: I was sixteen at the time. I guess her family had a different talk before school that day). I was timid then and didn’t confront her, but the voracious nature of her attack extremely bothered me. It seemed crazy!
I don’t know what your politics are, but you can’t deny that Obama cares and has been a standout example of a president for many reasons. I never got to vote for Obama because I was so young, but my brother did and I’m happy he had the opportunity. I’m also happy that I had the opportunity to see a living definition of ‘anything is possible.’ Even when he didn’t always get the results he wanted, he showed everyone how to fall with style.