Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mr. President's Address to the Nation

Let me start by saying I watched Obama's address streaming on in partnership with Facebook which in itself, blows me away. Before he even began speaking I was watching opinions, hopes and dreams steadily dropping in on the status bar. On my blackberry, I was twittering with my "twibe" who I've shared thoughtful 140 character exchanges with during the debates, election, inauguration, and now this, Obama's first presidential address. The whole experience made me feel like the future had come and change is imminent - a sentiment that parallels the President's campaign message.

So it was with high hopes that I listened as he began his speech. Let there be no mistake, Barack Obama is an eloquent gifted speaker. He charmed us all - right off - by acknowledging his wife, the First Lady of the United States. He rolled beautifully from one topic to the next - pausing for each and every standing ovation (of which there were FAR too many.) But I was put off by his "ole boys'" banter in proclaiming that "nobody messes with Joe!" and it concerned me that there was no mention of the troops recently sent to Afghanistan.

When he was finished, CNN let the cameras roll with raw audio streaming as they followed him through the crowd. I read last week that Obama is more famous right now than Jesus, and indeed, it did seem like people just wanted to TOUCH him. Needed to feel his solidity, make sure he was real.

So, good? Bad? I'm a bit disappointed by the address. I was hoping for more answers and explanations. On the other hand he was a pleasure to behold. A man suited to lead. I remain positive and hopeful that he can reunite the country and ignite a spirit of solidarity and community service. We are, after all, in it together.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What's Normal?

A couple of weeks ago, my son Joe turned 8. About two weeks prior to that his dad and I moved into separate homes.

He's complained to me that we aren't "normal" anymore. Not like a family. It breaks my heart.

At his birthday party we had 8 children. A great mix of kids some who he's known a long time, others from school. They had a wonderful time playing with legos and flopping about in a jumpy house rented for the event.

Towards the end of the day, as the parents were picking up their children, something dawned on me. Of the 8 at the party, only one (ONE!) came from a "normal" nuclear family. Let me run down the list (names changed - obviously):

Janet: one mom (sperm donor)
Sonia: two dads (adopted)
Sean: parents divorced before kindergarten
Rick: parents divorced before kindergarten
Jason: parents divorced in first grade
Bill: parents divorced before kindergarten
Brian: parents married and living in one house
Tom: parents divorced before kindergarten

I told Joe my observation - how his friends come from all different types of families. If being with a mom and a dad was "normal" then our statistics told us otherwise. He agreed. (Fabulous math lesson, btw!)

I don't think it makes him wish any less that his dad and I get back together. But I do think the realization that there are MANY kids who have "two houses" and live sometimes with mommy and sometimes with daddy was helpful. If nothing else, he was able to see that he is not alone.

Keep in mind we live in Berkeley, CA where anything goes and views are liberal. It's one of the reasons I love it here.