Speaking to the people: President Barak Obama on The Tonight Show

March 20, 2009 in Personalities & Profiles | Comments (0)


For the record, I adore my President. Truly. Actually the affection extends to the entire First Family.
Okay so perhaps that’s not precisely a news flash if you read my blog with any sort of regularity. But in the wake of a conversation I had while I was in NYC with my friend Ellen McGirt, in which we discussed this incredible phenomenon that is the cult of Obama, I came back to my hotel and watched the President’s turn on The Tonight Show.
For whatever you may say about his politics, it’s pretty hard to deny that this man is just … cool.
I realize, of course, there’s a whole lot more to running a nation than just being the cool kid that everyone likes. A lot more. And I’m not suggesting that the hip factor absolves him from receiving sharp scrutiny from his constituents along the way. Far from it. In fact, if anything, being the cool kid means he has that much more responsibility for behaving in a responsible manner.
The morning after watching the Prez with Leno, I had a conversation with someone in which the topic of “the cool kids” came up, and I remembered something. Well, not something so much as someone … A person with whom I attended school from elementary days right up to high school graduation. This person would definitely fall into the category of “popular” from the get go.
I, on the other hand, was always just a touch too … well, nerdy.
Not that long ago, I got that familiar email saying “XXXX added you as a friend on Facebook…” One look at the name returned me to 4th Grade. It was Mrs. Levin’s class and I’m pretty sure it was late fall. Odd, but for some reason I remember the angle of the light cutting across the open classroom.
(Though not a Montessori school, Merion Elementary School definitely leaned towards a more non-traditional [at the time] classroom format – open floor plans, lots of sitting in circles on the floor, joint classes in which 3rd and 4th grade students learned together, that sort of thing.)
There was a group of students sitting playing a game of some sort. I walked up to join them and was told by one of the kids that I couldn’t play with them – because I was ugly.
Fast forward to 2009 and there’s that friend request email staring out from my inbox – from that very person who tossed that comment all those years ago.
I immediately posted to Twitter and Facebook (of course) about the experience. Several people replied on both fronts and suggested that perhaps he was trying to make amends. Could be, but truth is I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even remember the incident.
Most folks told me to tell this fellow to go away (though the verbiage they all suggested was a bit more salty than that).
I opted to do the adult thing – accept his invitation. However, I did not mention the incident from all those years later. Somehow I felt it silly … yet somehow it still bothers me …
But at this moment, I’m thinking about the future of our country as it relates to people being kind to each other. Watching President Obama on The Tonight Show, I’m reminded that though the road ahead for our nation is a rough one, and there will no doubt be mistakes made along the way, at least we have someone leading the charge, who is endeavoring to do so with integrity, accountability and humor.


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