This past weekend we made our yearly trip to Cleveland to see the Browns. We got the Browns and then some. Senator Obama had a huge rally scheduled right outside our hotel, between the hotel and the Browns Stadium. What made it even better was Bruce Springsteen was his opener! We went to the game, (Browns lost, bummer) and then we joined the 80-100,000 waiting for Springsteen and Obama. The crowd was very large and very diverse. Young, old, middle aged, white, black, every combination you could imagine. We couldn't see the stage but they had big screens set up and we could see Springsteen on them. He was great! After he finished, he introduced Obama and the cry of "Yes we can!" sprang up in the crowd.
Obama was eloquent, focused, confident and respectful. Alexa has been asking a lot of questions about the election and we've both been trying to explain the process and the candidates without overly influencing her to think our way. It's been difficult. For Alexa it comes down to who is 'good' and who is 'bad'. She's very black and white, no pun intended. Getting her to see shades of gray and learning that in many cases there are no absolutes is a challenge. So I've told her it comes down to respecting both these men for what they have done, who they are and what they want to do, and how they want to lead our nation. I've been very careful to try and get across to her that while I truly do respect John McCain and even like him - he's a hero for the sacrifices he made for our country during the Vietnam war and for the years of service he's given Arizona and our country in the Senate, that I don't always agree with all of his decisions or how he wants to institute change. I'm more comfortable and in sync with Senator Obama.
Alexa stayed up as late as she could manage, watching election results! Who knew?! She also told me what all her friend's parents were saying, who they were going to vote for, who her teachers where going to vote for! (Heaven only knows what Alexa tells her friends about us! I shudder to think about it!) Even this morning she was trying to figure out if McCain could still win because there were states that were still undecided!
Writing this post has been difficult for me. I do not like to air my political views in public. I'm very old school. What's that adage, 'Never talk about politics or religion" - well that's me. This year has been different. This election has been different. So I'm coming out of my political closet.
In the end, I was moved to tears by president-elect Obama's speech last night. I was touched and moved by Senator McCain's speech also. Both gave me hope that change can happen. That we can work together in the best interest of all Americans and not just of those who think like we do. I'd never seen crowds of people spontaneously pop up on election night all over the country the way they did in New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, cheering and joining together the way Americans did last night. It made me very proud of both candidates, and of our country, and the promise of a better America. It made me proud to be an American.