One More Chance To Wear Your Obama T-Shirt
By Mary McGee
What’s going to happen to the tote bags? The T-shirts? The buttons?
On Tuesday, November 4, I was decked out. I had on a Barack Obama T-shirt and two buttons, one in honor of his wife, Michelle. I saw others with sweatshirts, scarves and yes, even tote bags. On November 5, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wear my Obama shirt again in celebration of victory. My roommate pointed out: “If you’re ever going to wear it again, today’s the day.”
She was right. November 5, 2008 was the last entirely appropriate day to wear Obama apparel. I just think it would feel kind of weird after that because, as a young liberal- minded person, I’m supposed to be skeptical and critical of my government by default. It’s all I’ve known to do over these past eight years. By now, it’s become nearly impossible not to be cynical and jaded after having literally grown up in an America with an administration that I, and most of those I know, never believed in. I have never been given a reason to believe.
So many people were supportive of Barack Obama. People who had abstained from voting in previous elections. Young voters who would not have registered otherwise. Some who had proudly supported George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. To be entirely cliché and trite, Obama was in fact a beacon of hope and sign of change. Now that he is going to be the next President of the United States, what are the cynics going to do?
Obama has a huge mess to clean up starting on January 21, 2009. What has always been my fear ever since that pedestal was erected beneath Obama’s feet is the inevitable fact that what goes up must indeed come down. I know I’m entirely ready to be one of the people that catch him. But what about everyone else?
Will they be quick to forget their signs and bumper stickers? I hope that when Obama makes his first inevitable stumble that their T-shirt will be hanging in their closet where they can see it. I hope they will be quick to recall the elation they felt as they watched Senator John McCain deliver his concession speech before the last poll had even closed, and the pride they felt when Obama took the stage in Grant Park in Chicago after being introduced as “the next President of the United States.”
On January 20, 2009 I will don my Barack Obama T-shirt and take a deep breath. I will try to look at this as a fresh start to what will unfortunately be the same enormous problems. But for reasons that are difficult for me to describe, I just simply have faith in this man and I truly always have. I don’t even agree with every single one of his policies, but his is a voice that I willingly listen to. I hope my fellow youth voters, the dyed-in-the wool Democrats and the newly reformed will learn to do the same.