I was leaning towards writing my first blog with a cynical undertone. In the draft state, it had made itself to pivot around a notion that we needed to inject the nation’s discourse about Obama with a healthy dose of reality (code for cynicism).
Yes, Google publicizes that our nation’s unemployment rate at the end of March 2009 stood at 9%. Men, women, and children across the nation cannot afford to pay for basic life insurance. Achievement gaps still plague our educational system. Retirement funds are dwindling. Things look bleak.
These harsh realities flooded my head as I racked my brain for how I wanted to assess President Obama’s first one hundred days in office. These issues plagued our nation before Obama’s election and still cry out for a solution today. It’s difficult to go through a day without hearing about the latest stock market crash, case of swine flu, or some other terrible tragedy.
Despite all of this, as I re-read my draft, musing over whether it was publishing material, I thought to myself, “You’re only 21. That’s way too young to be jaded.” So I erased it all. And came up with this instead.
Trust me, I know a thing a two about the harsh realities mentioned above. They are not outside of my lived experiences. Some days, the weight of these issues are so heavy upon me I can feel them sitting on my chest.
But I still have hope. Naïve? Perhaps. But it’s precisely that naiveté that drives the Obama adminstration and Generation O. I posit that naiveté need not conform to the definition it carries in formal usage. It need not carry such negative connotation. To me, lack of experience can be a positive as it causes one to be more in tune with his or her own self, his or her own humanity. One is freer from the often times harmful social constructs and insidious ideologies that result in divisive lines amongst members of our communities. So, yes, I’ll gladly embrace my naivete if it means I can cultivate a deeper understanding of how am connected to others, how I am supported by others, and how my actions can help serve others.
It’s that last sentence more than anything that provides me with the filter for how I look at Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office. In our president, I see a reflection of these values I hold near and dear to me. He understands the power and privilege his position holds, but also understands the responsibilities that come with it. Within his first week in office, President Obama enacted the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and rescinded the Mexico City Policy. In March, our president signed an executive order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. These actions are significant because they begin to set forth institutional efforts through which womyn’s rights for equality are recognized. Though not a woman himself, our president is a feMANist. He acknowledges the critical roles womyn play in our households, in our workforce, in our every day lives, and has laid down groundwork to give them proper recognition.
Even though our nation’s prospects look bleak, my support cannot waver for a man such as our president. He is a man who understands himself as connected to and accountable to every one of his constituents. Ideological differences aside, he understands that partisanship without pragmatism serves no one. He fights on the side for the every day man and woman. He has reinvigorated marginalized communities who had grown apathetic to the mechanisms of a political process that in their eyes only feigned democracy. Sure he achieves this with his natural charisma, with a little help from the media, and his impressions of Beyonce. But he also does it with his actions, strengthened by his sense of conviction and dedication to serve the people. He is calculated and cautious in his work to bridge gaps that span across our racial, generational, economic, and social divides. He is deliberate in his efforts to unify our nation and to reach out to the nations in the world to create communities.
While President Obama’s first 100 days in office did not solve all of our nation’s trials, they have re-energized our people. Yes, we still have countless issues through which we need to work, but with the way Obama’s administration has tackled a lot of our previous obstacles, I cannot help but be excited for the innovative, thoughtful approaches he still has in store. Call me crazy, but I’ve got hope.