Last night I finally
My mom turns 70 on November 16th and insists there’s nothing she wants for her birthday other than photos of her grandchildren. I know the one thing that would thrill her even more: being present at Barack Obama’s inauguration. She’s a lifelong Democrat — my parents met when my Dad ran for a congressional nomination 45 years ago — and while she’s lived in Canada for 40 years, she’s never stopped feeling like an American (or dressing like one, on July 4th in particular!)
Her American-ness is particularly heartfelt when it comes to her political attentions. Over the past year, she’s spent hours every day watching CNN. For the first half of that year, we had the typical generational divide: I was pulling for Obama, and she felt it was time for a woman — for Hillary in particular. But she has been completely won over by watching speech after speech; I think that for the first time, she’s realizing that the United States is no longer the country she left in 1968, for better and for worse. On the one hand the Bush years have been far more brutal than she’d ever have imagined; on the other hand, the US she lived in was profoundly divided — particularly the segregated world of her Tennessee grandparents.
I know that the prospect of President Obama has made her feel like an American again — not just in a red-white-and-blue, Fourth-of-July outfit sort of a way, but in a return to the idea of America as a political beacon for the world. I’d love her to see it shining brightly, first hand, at the inauguration.