The Texture Of Things


January 20th, 2009

Dear Tater and Tot,

When you are old enough to wonder about these days, I want to be able to tell you about them.

Today, America changed. Today, America saw its first African American President Inaugurated. This is an important moment in our history because it is a first, a door opening for future Americans.

When you ask me where you were when it happened, I will tell you this. We were in our living room, watching it on tv. I had been walking Tater around to get him to settle into a nap while I listened to the coverage on the kitchen radio. Tot, you stayed home from preschool with a cold, so you were kneeling at the ottoman in your rainbow-striped jammies. When I asked you if you wanted to see it, you said yes.

“Barack Obama will become President today. Do you want to watch?”
“Yes.” So I turned off the kid shows and put on a news channel.

We watched a poet and a prayer and a performance and a President, and that was that.

While it was a momentous occasion, I didn’t make a big deal over it, my little ones, because I don’t want it to ever be a big deal that America can elect someone who isn’t white or male or a member of a major political party. I am glad that for the whole of your lives, a President who also happens to be a minority will simply be within normal limits. I am hopeful that by the time you are both voting age, what a person is will not matter as much as what she or he stands for, as it has so often in our past.

It is a good dream to have, for all of us.


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