Remembering the ruffly joy

So, I’m sitting at home this evening, tinkering away on the computer while Ron finishes up his day’s work downstairs, and just got inspired to write. I’ve had the TV on for a while to our usual post-workday MSNBC, and decided to flip through the channels and see what else was on. Usually, that amounts to depressingly little when you think of how many channels we pay for, but I digress.

So, cruising through the channel guide, I came across a documentary on one of the HBO channels called “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama.” Now, I’m an unabashed and completely unapologetic Obama fan. I voted for the guy with a smile on my face, a song in my heart and practically a whole flock of bluebirds flitting around my shoulders, so I flipped right to it (it was either that or “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”).

So, I started watching it, watching the footage of his road to the White House, of the buses and the behind-the-scenes and speeches all along that historical campaign that seemed to stretch on and on and on. I watched the footage of this tall, skinny, charismatic man talking to people, both constituents and staff members, smiling and strategizing, and I became aware of this giddy feeling. Like butterflies in my stomach. Like a ruffly kind of joy. And I remembered: this is what I felt that whole spring, summer and fall of 2008 during that campaign. The Obama rush. And it’s STILL THERE. This man, this President of ours — I am so flipping proud he’s our guy.

So, what is it about him that still gets me? It’s a lot of things. Firstly, he is SMART. The man is just flat-out sharp as a tack. And, I know my Republican friends and family will probably really disagree with me on this, but I was so hideously embarrassed by the previous administration. It wasn’t just that we disagreed on a lot of issues, it was that the president represented this fantastic country so incredibly poorly. With way too few expectations, he was a joke. Now, I’m sure President Bush is a very nice guy, and probably great to have a beer with, but that’s NOT what I want in a president. I want a whip-smart critical thinker who can separate faith from policy. I want someone who searches for a challenging opinion, explores options, is deliberate. I want someone who makes decisions based on bucketloads of information, not instinct.

Beyond my appreciation of his intelligence, but probably due in part to it, I am continually stunned by his eloquence and oratory skills. Now there are a lot of dismissive remarks made about this characteristic, how “anyone can make a speech,” but that’s patently not true. Not just anyone can speak like Barack Obama. He has a gift. He connects. He inspires. He represents us well.

Now, I am not dumb, nor am I a sycophant. I realize our President is not perfect. There are some things on which I wish he was being much more aggressive (closing Gitmo), some things where I think he’s falling down on promises he made during the campaign (ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell). He’s not flawless. He’s definitely human. But I put that aside and I look at all the huge, snarling issues (mostly inherited) he’s wrangling on a daily basis, like two wars, an economy recovering from the brink of disaster, attempting to realize historical health care reform, and I still have to, completely unapologetically, give him a lot of credit. He’s holding shit together. I’m still firmly on his side. And I still have that ruffly joy. And that, to me, is what having a president should feel like.


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