After the sadness of Sept. 11 our nation was in desperate need of some lovin’, and the silly looking, seemingly harmless cowboy we were dating at the time pledged to make it all better. He wasn’t the smoothest of talkers, or the brightest of crayons, yet we could hardly refuse the luring promise of stability and security he offered. Eight years, two wars, one hurricane Katrina and a battered economy later, we finally realized that it was time to let go. Maybe George wasn’t that into us.
We were in desperate need of a change.
This Charming Man
We first noticed him back in 2004. The speech he gave at the Democratic National Convention gave us serious butterflies, and ever since, our curiosity for this tall, dark and handsome beau only grew. Barack’s poise, his charm and his ability to speak eloquently without butchering the English language was beyond refreshing.
After the breakup with George, we thought we’d never get over our trust issues, but the man with the GQ smile and an IQ to match came seemingly out of nowhere to pick us up, dust us off, and invite us to ride into the sunset. “Is this real life?” we kept asking ourselves. But questioning what felt like true love was inconceivable at this point. It seemed like we had finally found THE ONE!
Love is Blind, Change is Hard
He promised to restore all that is righteous and pure, to put a puppy in every home and to generate enough green jobs for us to quit our foreign oil binge. He promised we would no longer have to pretend we’re Canadian while traveling Europe, and that he’d never hang around shady, war-loving assholes like Dick Cheney. We were head over heels, the ballots were cast, and two years later, the old adage stands: Love is blind.
OK, fine. Maybe our expectations were a little unrealistic. We wanted overnight peace and prosperity, but were met with the sobering fact that change ain’t easy. Barack’s attempt to heal our broken health was countered by the unrelenting power of the insurance lobby. Before he had a chance to bring up immigration reform, crazy Aunt Arizona proposed to SB 1070 all brown people out of the state, and only 18 months into our relationship half of America decided to go on an elephant ride, cheating us out of future chances for any semblance of progress.
It’s hard to admit, but Mother Common Sense was right, we can’t expect for one man to save us.
America, honey, it’s been a tough decade. We were so damn ready to celebrate the end of the war(s), LGBT equality and universal health care that we put on our most fabulous dress and brightest lipstick. But two years later we were still sitting by the phone, waiting to hear that at least one of our hopes had been fulfilled. The faithful among us called for patience, they asked for us to praise the baby steps and forget the terrible compromises. The disappointed were inflicted by the awful disease of apathy and stopped dating altogether, while many felt the catastrophic urge to run back to our ex-lovers. Worst of all, a few of us gave up sanity and Tea-partied all the way to Glenn Beck rallies in a desperate search for someone to believe in.
In the end, admitting the obvious is empowering: No one is going to take care of us if we don’t take care of ourselves. It’s time to take off the sweatpants, put away the Ben & Jerry’s and stand on our own two feet. Continuing to wait for Mr. (or Ms.!) Right while our world crumbles is not what history prescribes in times of crises. And we should know, nothing has been handed to us by any of the men we’ve dated, whether liberal or conservative.
Remember, our grandmothers campaigned, organized and fought the good fight for decades before the good ol’ boys decided that a woman’s right to vote was worthy of a constitutional amendment. Our mothers sat at segregated lunch counters and marched in Washington to attain guaranteed civil rights for our brothers and sisters. Now it is our turn. We have plenty of worthy challenges ahead of us, and we are not waiting around for Obama, or anyone else, to hold our hands through the fire. We’re America the beautiful, damn it! And God knows we look our best when we invest in ourselves. So, dump the unrealistic hope of pretty boys with pretty promises, and don’t fall for the baseless fear of double-chinned foxes or mama grizzlies. It’s up to We, the people, to practice the democracy we preach.