It was more of the same when she spoke at the convention. This time, with most of the world watching. I want to meet her. I want to hug and kiss her. I want her to follow in her husband’s footsteps and lead. I hope that one day Michelle Obama will run for president.
She would inspire all the girls and women of color to stand up and be heard and be leaders. She would do it as she does everything I have seen her do, with grace, humility, respect, intelligence and passion.
When a black woman, forced by her father into marriage with an abusive husband, has her first experience of seeing another black woman stand up to her husband, own her power and strength, and go through her own transformation…When all the audience roars in support when Sofia sings “Hell no” …When the abusive husband is forced to see the err of his ways and connect to the pain and suffering of his own upbringing…When all the women unite to support and empower each other, the impossible happens.
I know now what it is like to live in a world that was not made by me or meant for me. It has blackened my whiteness, feminized my masculinity and bent my straightness in such expansive and profound ways.
I had a stint for three years in high school and the beginning of college of being an outspoken conservative. It’s a time that makes me cringe when I think about it, but I understand it now as a young man dealing with the internal time bomb of a degenerative illness, full of unprocessed rage and fear, desperately trying to find himself.
In the second semester of my freshman year at college, I moved in with a roommate who was as straight-laced as they come. He was on track to join the CIA. I guarantee you he did. He was an ultra-conservative; the first ultra conservative I had met the same age as myself (I grew up in the Northeast). I found myself disagreeing with everything he was saying. He provided me with the reflection that I needed.
I’m sure it would have happened at some point, but I appreciate my roommate for that to this day. When you’re white, wealthy, male and able-bodied, you don’t get paid less than others doing the same job. You don’t get stopped and frisked on the streets. You don’t go to a school with metal detectors. You don’t get beaten up for your sexual orientation and you don’t have to research every time you go out to make sure there’s an accessible entrance and bathroom.
What happens when the privileged don’t own their privilege? In Germany, children that were born years after the Holocaust are taught what happened. They are taught that what happened is their responsibility and burden to bear even though they weren’t alive. It’s not just about making reparations and building monuments. It’s about owning it.
Can the Emancipation Proclamation or the Civil Rights Act repair this? How about a chapter in a history textbook?
Electing a black president was unquestionably a leap forward in our collective consciousness.
We have another opportunity to crack the glass ceiling by electing a female president in November. We have a chance to show our daughters and sons that a woman can become president of the United States, that one of our daughters can and will become president of the United States one day.
In a country where women did not have the right to vote 100 years ago…it is long overdue.