When I was in high school, it was just after the "hippie" era. We were on the screaming, beginning edge of the no-return ride of the neo-conservative movement. Hippies were has-beens, by-gone's, old stoners, destined to spend the rest of their lives in jail, or on the public dole. For someone with a hippie heart, peace, love, and social consciousness, this was a time where one was seen as, and what in high school was referred to as, a "freak". I was a freak.
While classmates screamed in orgasmic ecstasy over Bob Seger and Kiss, I sat in my little bedroom fondling my Janis Joplin LP, or flipping through my collection of CSNY (if you need me to spell that out, you are far too young to appreciate this walk down memory lane). I wore overalls to school, with a tube top in the summer, and a flannel shirt in the winter...all long after if was popular to be "rebellious". I've been a non-conformer, and a quasi-socialist/bleeding-heart liberal since I was six, when I defended Freddy Freymeyer from our tormenting classmates because he was 1.) fat, 2.) he smelled, and 3.) he was ADOPTED!
When I was 13 I was asked to leave the Methodist Youth Group because I questioned how the pastor could support a government that advocated war. I commandeered my mother's old roller skates, and along with a sole friend, we made African caftan dresses which we wore (naked underneath) while roller skating up to Broadway in Greenville, Ohio to buy Swisher Sweets. We would later smoke them secretly in the city park down by the swinging bridge. I cared deeply about the kids starving in Haiti, who had worms in their bellies, and not about the Bibles people wanted to send, and wondered why they didn't spend money for wells, and medicine and schools.
I was a dork, a strange one. But I always thought that there was hope for the dire circumstances people found themselves in, whether in the US, or the rest of the world. People laughed at me. She's too serious, they said. I always felt that if we all believed in something different, it could happen. Gog (or God, as I meant to type) helps them that help themselves they said. But, I was a dork. I was the strange, goofy, silly girl. And people laughed and the only dates I had were ones with boys who didn't care about what their parents thought. No boy who wore a lettered jacket, or whose parents belonged to a country club ever wanted to date me.
And I've not changed much. Except now...I have a date for the prom! And I may be wrong, but I think he is principled, and wildly intelligent, and witty, and I'm hugely honored that he asked me out for a date. He believes in the things I do. Hope. Responsibility. Sharing. Laugh all you want! You might be saying, "SUCKER! He's just taking you for a ride, he has ulterior motives." But you know what, I don't care. Because...
On January 20th, I have a date with someone who at least acts like he cares. Someone who will not embarrass me. Someone who has already said that although we might not agree on where we will have dinner, or what music we will listen to, he cares about, and will consider my opinions. Someone who will consider my thoughts and opinions. Imagine that. And I suspect that he will not order FILL- IT- MIG -NON at dinner and pass out halfway through the night so I have to drive him home. And my date...who knows if it will turn out to be a wonderful relationship or not...is the first guy to never, ever, ever laugh at me for hoping that this one day, in this time of my life, will be a day that I can be proud of who I am walking into the dance hall with.
Barak Obama 44th President of the United States of America (my date for the next 4 or maybe 8 years....wish me luck)