In 2008, I was a hope-seeking, "yes we canner," "change we can believer." I remember checking off delegates on my Obama daisy chain by the soft, hopeful glow of my Obama nightlight. On Election Day 2008, my sister and I held signs asking drivers to "Honk for Change" in Durham, North Carolina. When the rain started, the two of us broke into the Obama battle cry, screaming "Fired up? Ready to go!" at each other, back-and-forth across the street. We had the rhythm and smiles of the Partridge Family, but were less annoying -- as I choose to remember it.
That morning we proved the strength of America's young electorate and "yes we can" slow traffic flow. We showed "these colors don't run!" At least, initially. Turns out, these colors do run -- and worse, they stain. My red, khaki and blue pants prove it. Whoever claimed the colors' permanence clearly never wrote on poster board with a felt-tip marker and held it in the rain. You try washing hope and optimism out of a pair of iron-free khakis, Francis Scott Key. No cheating, try it without star spangles.
After the election, I hoped Obama would fill out his cabinet with the cast from will.i.am's "Yes We Can" video. Imagine: Scarlett Johansson -- Secretary of Health and Human Services, John Legend -- Education Secretary, Kareem Abdul Jabbar -- Secretary of Things That Are Very Tall. Entertainment and politics all in one place, but not in a communist-y way.
This time around, I don't feel the same excitement. 2008 was a time of hope and change, courage and vitality, passion and trust and Obama's speeches that used this sentence structure.
The past four of years of congressional bickering, filibusters and Joe Lieberman have aged me like a president. The political atmosphere has been exhausting. Congress seems useless unless it's being taken like Ambien. And if it is, make sure you can devote 10 hours of sleep before indulging.
I understand the sequel is rarely as good as the original, but Obama will not be the Grease 2 of presidents. He's better than that and so was John Travolta.
It's hip for my generation to criticize the president, but there have been major accomplishments: repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," drawing down in Iraq, Wall Street reform and bringing a puppy to the White House. Oh, and health care! That was huge because we can now stay on our parents' health insurance until we're 26, so it's finally time to try base-jumping. Thanks mom and dad!
And of course, that bin Laden thing happened. That night I participated in what started as a somber reflection at Ground Zero. The crowd was inspired by the country's resolve, Obama's leadership and, more immediately, by a drunk guy in an argyle sweater slurring something about amber waves of grain. Americans have not forgotten 9/11, but the same cannot be said for the lyrics to both "God Bless America" and the National Anthem. America was back and so was argyle.
This victory, though, does not guarantee my generation's support for reelection, especially considering former Godfather Pizza CEO, Herman Cain. He can win American hearts, minds and stomachs. What he lacks in foreign, social, health, national security, environmental, education and immigration policy, he makes up for with -- hey, he ran a pizza place.
If Cain offers free pizza at every event, anyone under 30 will show up. Throw in garlic knots and there's no telling what we'll do. Seriously, I have a crazy story that started with garlic knots, but I can't get into that right now.
Don't underestimate him. Remember, after there was Caesar there was Little Caesar.
In 2012, I will proudly cast my ballot for President Obama and I'll probably end up in the rain somewhere screaming at cars. With young support like this, Obama can win, ideally making him The Godfather: Part II of presidents. Don't worry, most people my age haven't seen it, me included. My parents said it's good.
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