Sunday, January 27, 2008

For you...

A Letter to My Mother,

I am honored to be sharing this historical moment in history with you. We have witnessed a lot of historical events together - I remember watching the first walk on the moon with you on a small black and white TV set in your bedroom. I vividly recall the memory of wishing for my Saturday morning cartoons to return instead of the constant image of JFK’s funeral procession and endless media coverage. I remember turning on the car radio and hearing the body counts being reported of fallen victims of the Vietnam War. I remember my confusion of seeing you weeping at the news of Martin Luther King’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s assassinations. There is the blur of the Kent State shootings and the riots of the 1960’s. We watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and sang freedom songs on our car trips. I sat by your side as we watched Richard Nixon resign as President of the United States. We watched with awe as the Berlin wall came down and sat together after the Twin Towers fell. We walked together to celebrate Israel’s 25th Anniversary and rallied for Darfur.

We shared all of this, as mother and daughter. We often talk about the progress of the woman’s movement and the quandary women of my generation face about choosing to stay home to raise our children or to enter the workforce. We come from different generations, yet as we evolved from mother and child to mother and daughter to mother and friend we have learned much from each other. We look back at history with different lenses, our perspectives and memories shaped by our experiences and our years. But we look forward with the same hope.

We have reached a critical moment in history again. Mother and daughter, mother and friend.... we are two women from different generations who stand upon this precipice of history with a voracious appetite to devour every moment. My memories of those pivotal events in history are clouded by my youth. I want to soak up every minute of this incredible story. And I am glad you are here to share it with me.

Woman to woman, I am proud that you are not shackled by feminist guilt to dutifully vote for a candidate solely because she is a woman. You have told me that you are listening to the voices of our youth because it is their future, not yours. Our feminist forbears made it possible for us to be at this crossroads. But I think you would agree that it was never their intention to burden us with such a ridiculous responsibility to blindly support any woman for the sole reason of gender. I believe that their legacy entreats us to think critically and act responsibly when exercising our precious right to vote.

I know about your hopes for the future and I know that as much as you wish to see the day when a woman is President, this woman is not the one you would choose. But the simple possibility that this nation would consider a woman and an African American as serious contenders for President of the United States is momentous in itself.

We share the excitement of Barack Obama’s candidacy because he symbolizes all of those historical moments that we shared together. He represents hope and a desire to change what isn’t good and to make even better things that are. He has dreams for us to believe again. In all our years as mother and daughter, you’ve taught me to dream and to believe that things can always be better if we put our minds to it. Well, my dear mother and beloved friend, we are doing just that.

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