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Dignity

The President and a fan.

My little girl, Violet, was born on President Barack Obama’s first day in office.

Me and her mom have always been proud of that little nugget.

There we were, in the middle of the finest moments of our lives, as our country was in the midst of something beautifully progressive, something a long long time in the making.

And I still look back on that day as one of the best in my life. In one wintery afternoon: my first kid/my wonderful little baby daughter, and our first African-American President: a man who seemed to know the value of things a lot of men had seemingly forgotten.

Things that should be essential in men who seek lead people, like respectfully listening when someone else was speaking.  He seemed to us to be constructed of boundless grace and dignity and charm.

Finally, we sighed to each other.

Finally a man we could believe in. Or simply, a man we could believe.

Finally, a Presidential Man for our long and lovely land whose eyes didn’t flit all over the place like the eyes of so many of his opponents: candidates to lead the free world, whose faces, if you could open them up like a cabinet, would reveal a nest of writhing rattlesnake babies rubbing all up against the back of those eyeballs. Vipers jiggling the peepers of this sketchy fella and that one until it seemed that the last good honest glare might be the dust in Lincoln’s tomb .

I couldn’t wait to tell my daughter about it all someday.

I couldn’t wait to tell Violet about how her very pregnant Mommy took her in to help make sweet history that long ago November afternoon, when she closed the curtain behind her and voted just once for the both of them.

I couldn’t wait to tell her how we cried there on the couch that night, how lots of folks cried on their couches too, when we knew that he had won; and how we hollered down into Mommy’s belly with joy, letting our little girl know we had done it, that our country had done something undeniably wonderful, something that even forever could never take back.

Some morning soon enough, when the early September sun is squishing her first beams up into the luggage rack of sky, my little girl is going to slip her tiny hand into mine as we walk down to her bus stop for the first time in our lives.

And man, I can’t even tell you how much I want to put my baby on a bus rolling out into a land where people are not scared of you or hate you or exclude you if you are gay, or Hispanic, or poor, or Christian, or Sikh, or Frankenstein, or born into a harbor where The Lady Luck seldom docks.

Is that a dumb dream to have?

I don’t think it is.

Heck, maybe that’s what you dream of too?

I hope so. I like the idea of our same dreams meeting up out on a cool breeze somewhere, making plans.

Our lives actually swoosh by pretty fast, you know, and yet we seem to spend so much time acting like we are forever. Sooner than later: our string of days is just gonna vanish into the shadow of a thin passing crow;  but we act as if we are the voice of a thousand final says.

All I know is that , for my time here, I wanna hold tight to my little girl’s hand, to my son’s hand, my wife’s hand, and follow the guy with the dignity.

Because without that, you got nothing.

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