Four years ago I sat on my couch and cried. I was flanked by my two children, then 9 and 7, who were hugging me as they were not accustomed to dad crying. Along with my wife, we were all watching as Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States. An outcome that I had worked so hard to help achieve. An outcome that didn’t come without a little family sacrifice as I was out of the house for many hours phone banking and trying hard to get out the vote in swing states across the country. Through the tears of joy, I told my family that they were living through one of the largest moments in American history: the election of our country’s first African-American president.
As a financial advisor, it is my job to help steer my client’s investments (most of it IRAs and other retirement funds) safely through the turbulent markets. Of course, 2008 was the most turbulent year in our lifetimes. So the promise of change and hope that our young president was offering was a welcomed elixir. Here was a transformative man, one capable of bringing the country together. I knew it. My kids knew it. It simply felt…special.
Four years later, my children are older and have social studies in their curriculum at school. They understand that I follow politics the way some of their friend’s dads follow the San Francisco Giants. And they themselves have become interested. I get asked questions now about the electoral college and to explain what a swing state is. It’s priceless.
What’s amazing to me is the awareness my children have on the complete obstinance of the Republican party. They are being taught in school that the two parties are supposed to work together. They are being taught that our countries greatest strength comes from the willingness of people with opposing ideas to compromise to move our country forward. But what they are being taught isn’t meshing with what is happening in “real life.” They see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears how mean politics can be and how devastating the consequences of poor policy choices can be. That is a very tough lesson indeed.
I was viscerally upset after the first debate. I felt like the man who promised me so much, and indeed has given us so much for the past four years, let me down. I haven’t agreed with our president on everything he has done, but I have liked how he has fought hard for the average American since day one. In that first debate, he didn’t fight back against someone whom I’ve come to loathe. Our president’s opponent is a no-man and an every-man. He is a shape shifter. And even my children agree that it’s hard to debate someone who will run against their own record seconds after claiming that very record. Regardless, I felt despondency as the polls started tilting away from me. There is no way that our country wouldn’t see through this, right? Could we really elect another Bush?
I sat on my couch last night and watched Paul Ryan debate a pit bull. I watched a real quarterback debate a Monday morning quarterback. I watched a fighter. It has filled me again with hope. Thank you Joe Biden for your style and grace, your humor and your wit. Mr. President, we need you back in top campaigning mode from here on out because there is a tremendous amount at stake. And when you are declared the winner, on November 6th, I will be sitting on my couch, flanked by my two kids and my wife, crying again. Tears of relief and tears of joy.
11:35 AM PT: Thanks for reading and commenting, DKos community. I've never made the rec list for something I've written (I made it only one other time for forwarding a video of Jesse LaGreca, aka MinistryofTruth). I wrote this diary because last night, I was truly excited again. I was dancing around my family room like a fool. My kids were laughing at me. And it reminded me of four years ago. We've got work to do, but it's worth doing.