Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out


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NOVEMBER 7, 2012 3:23AM

Obama made me cry

Rate: 17 Flag

In general, I'm not a very political person.  No matter how important a subject it might be, politics usually doesn't interest me. Maybe if politicians dressed like Lady Gaga, or there were talking animals involved.
I think the main reason is, for many of the issues politicians speak about and fight over, there's no simple solution.  There is probably no one single person or political party who can completely fix the current economic situation.  There is no single person, I'm convinced, who can stop violence and bring peace to perpetually conflict-riddled places like Israel and Palestine.  
But there is one area where politicians actually can make changes: human rights.  Laws can be proposed and championed.  In the case of the President, at times, Supreme Court justices can be appointed.  
We've all heard the Republican discourse regarding issues like reproductive rights, contraception, gay marriage, and rape. I do understand that Romney and his cronies were probably saying these things, or at least approving other party members' words by staying silent, in order to garner votes, and that if he had been elected, Romeny probably wouldn't have done anything extreme regarding these issues.  But you never know. 
I feel that the rights of people to have a choice over what they do with their bodies, and whom they decide to marry, should be a given today.  I feel that when it comes to things like this, we should move forward, not backwards.  The economy will have its ups and downs, but human rights should be a steady incline until we reach a plateau of equality for everyone.
The first time Barack Obama was elected, I cried because of what it represented.  Not only had a young, dynamic man bearing a banner of hope, come into power - but the fact that a man with a darker skin color than "tan" had become President, was an overwhelming, wonderful thing, a sign of that progress that feels right to me.  I was proud beyond words of my country.
You can say many things about the past four years, the failures, the triumphs.  What can't be denied is that Obama has signed laws helping to forward women's equality in the workplace.  He's admitted to an evolution in his own beliefs regarding gay couples.   These kinds of things are what I most want to hear from a President, these kinds of things are what I most want for my country's future. 
This morning, I knew  my boyfriend would hear the election results first, since he gets up before me.  As he always does when there's big news, he came into our bedroom to announce it.  Of course, you never know if he's telling the truth or teasing, and this time he told me, "Well, you've got a new President.  Romney won."
My reaction was utter disbelief...and yet, a sinking feeling that it was the truth.  I sputtered, tried to grasp it, came to accept it with a hollow heart.  Then I ran to the radio to hear it for myself.  After some national news, as well as the oft-elusive weather report ("They wouldn't be talking so much about France right now if Obama had won," the boyfriend said behind me.  "They're too disappointed to say anything about the American election."), I heard the truth: Obama had been reelected.
Instead of turning around and giving my boyfriend a playful smack on the arm, my eyes filled with tears. They weren't tears of hope, though I do have hope that many things will improve these next four years - they were tears of relief.  Girls and women in America are safe from possible changes to legislation regarding their reproductive rights.  Gay couples may see their own rights increased, or at least preserved as they are.  For now.  Four more years.

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