Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dear Laura,

Laura's Empty ChairRemember that evening in November of 2006 as we watched the election returns and the Republicans were stripped of their majority in Congress? We (you, Fiki, and I) marked it as a moment of change, a moment of hope, a moment of demarcation, when better leadership would improve our country’s standing at home and abroad. We both embraced Barack Obama as someone who might make a difference.

In January 2007, you left this earth. I mourn your departure—my loss. You are at peace. You didn’t see how this promise is yet not fulfiilled. The thin 51-49 margin was not enough to change around our country. We continued to spend millions in Iraq. The sub-prime mortgage industry blossomed into a toxic cloud, raining pollution on our housing industry, leaking fumes to our traditionally steady financial institutions. We don’t know how it’s all going to turn out.

But tonight, Laura, I thought about you. I thought about how you said you’d vote for Barack if given the chance. You thought he had some good ideas, that he made sense when he spoke. In your rural North Carolina foothills—not the most progressive area in the country—you and Joop were shining flickers of forward thinking. Your involvement in your community, in education, in theatre and dance, imported from that city of all things artistic, New York, made you both respected citizens.

I thought about you tonight Laura, because, for the first time, I am truly hopeful that the dream we had that November in 2006, that pearl of inspiration that formed that night, might really happen. That ray of hope we saw may give way to a flood light of strength and decency and change. I wish you could see this.

When I vote, in my mind I will cast only ½ my vote and somehow delegate the other ½ to be from you. Because I know that’s how you’d want it.

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