I had almost forgotten about this book, and about how I wanted to post about it on Inauguration Day. My mother had shown it to me when I was home at Christmas, and I fell in love with it immediately. Of course, part of that has to do with how big a fan I am of this particular president, and I realize that not all my readers share my political leanings. That’s fine with me. A healthy two-party system is an important part of the Democratic experience – we need discourse to survive and thrive as a nation – and while I don’t love the direction either party is taking at the moment, I do have tremendous respect for President Obama.
I’m not a political junkie, I have to admit. In fact, most of my knowledge about the government comes from watching The West Wing, much to the dismay of my brother, husband, and best friend. I’m surrounded by people who are passionate about the process, the details, and the story behind the story. I try to keep up because I know how crucial it is to be informed about decisions made on my behalf, but it isn’t fun for me. I have to work to get through the articles sent by well-meaning friends. I have to remember back to when I was a child and my parents made sure my brother and I were a part of their discussions concerning our country – and I have to ignore the fact that those conversations often lulled me into a stupor (which in retrospect, may have partially been their purpose). I have to remember how important it is to help to educate the youth I work with about their rights, and I have to remember that by discovering my own passion in this arena, I’m passing along the message that this is critical information for everyone.
But it’s not easy. It’s much easier for me to love the president because of the man that he appears to be. When I read this letter he wrote to his daughters, Of Thee I Sing, it was evident to me that this was only one of many reasons I feel so connected to him as a leader. I appreciate his quiet demeanor, his thoughtfulness, his ability to laugh at himself while still taking his duties seriously. I love how deeply he loves his family, respects his wife (don’t even get me started on how much I admire her – we could be here all day), and values his daughters. He doesn’t seem to be afraid of gentleness. And his book reflects all of those things.
The last four years have been difficult, not just for him in office, but for our country. We are struggling with renewed divisiveness, with a powerful demand for equality, with terrible violence, and with fear for the sanctity of our bodies, our bank accounts, our families, ourselves. We are struggling. I don’t know what the next four years hold. I don’t know what role the US will play in war and economic strife around the world, or what we will do to face our own mounting issues at home. I don’t know if President Obama will be able to deliver the hope he has promised, but I do believe he respects the value of hard work. I do believe he will try. I do believe he will set the best example he can for his own daughters, and for children everywhere who deserve the best efforts of us all.
The proceeds from the sale of Of Thee I Sing benefit a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled veterans.