letting each other go

I don’t know who you voted for…

Posted by Leo G on November 4, 2008

and I don’t know what you think about President Obama. But let me tell you something. Last night, as Barack Obama was elected to the Presidency of this nation, my seventeen-year-old son wept. I don’t mean a few tears. I mean ten minutes of quiet tears, rolling one after the other down his face.

See, my son is mixed race. He read President-elect Obama’s first book a few years ago. He told me back then, “Barack Obama is me.” And last night, he saw that this country can overcome racism, division, and pettiness and elect a mixed race man to the highest office of the land.

Something in him broke open. Something was deeply affirmed–for the very first time. My son knows he matters. He knows he can recover from his mistakes and do anything. He knows that more people in America believe in hope than in fear and anger.

He wept. For ten minutes. So did Rev. Jesse Jackson. So did every African-American person I know. The white folks smiled and cheered and celebrated. But our African-American brothers and sisters wept. Before they could cheer, they had to weep.

I can’t say I completely understand. Even for me, it’s second hand. As much as I love my dear Bup, I could only observe and be affected by what he was feeling. I didn’t feel it in the same way. But I witnessed it. And I want you to know that it matters. Forty percent of the children in this country are people of color or mixed race. And they just understood, for the very first time, that their lives matter. They understand that they can make a difference. They understand that it is possible that they too could be president of our nation.

My son has been clean for seven months. His grades are good. My marriage ended, and Bup and I are living in an apartment in a way that I can only describe as “easy.” He still hides his vulnerability most of the time, fronting about how strong he is and how tough he can be. But tonight, for ten minutes, tears rolled down his face. Tonight, the part of him that was beginning to be beaten down, draining his hope and self-confidence–tonight, that part began to be healed.

President Obama, I will pray for you every day. I will pray for wisdom, for strength, and for your safety. You have taken on the burden of leadership, and I thank you for your willingness to serve in this way. I believe that tonight you began to heal our nation. Perhaps the healing is just in the heart of one adolescent young man for now, but it will spread. Thank you and God Bless you and the ones you love.


4 Responses to “I don’t know who you voted for…”

  1. jeanette1ca said

    So glad you are okay, and things are looking up for your son. It is a moment of history, but the real change is the small, personal ones taking place all over our nation.

  2. JaniceNW said

    Wow, sounds like things are going quite well. I feel Obama is bringing hope to many people who had forgetten what it was like to hope. Cool about your boy!!!

  3. Deeply moving and awesome, but you knew that.

  4. […] about his teenage son’s drug addiction at “Letting Each Other Go,” writes about his son’s reaction to Obama’s election: Last night, as Barack Obama was elected to the Presidency of this nation, my seventeen-year-old […]

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