Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama Family Values

The Obama family. These videos remind me all over again why they're moving to Washington despite every naturally occurring disadvantage that can happen in one three-word name.

Their natural affection is evident, as is their respect for one another. This cannot be faked. When Michelle Obama , talks about "this guy I married, whom I'm so proud of, first of all because he's a good guy," I believe her.

There's a wonderful moment after she introduces Malia and Sasha Obama and their dad, "BARACK OBAMA!" then nothing happens for maybe 20 seconds. When they finally emerge, poor 10-year-old Malia is so painfully self-conscious about all this attention, that she speaks to my inner child, how about you?

Little Sasha wears her happy kid beam, reveling in it all as she roams among her parents' long legs. Before going on, though, Dad's concern is his daughter's comfort, and he lets the crowd wait as he bends down, being sure to lower his mike, and whispers daddy magic that makes her smile her first genuine smile of the evening.

How often do kids really come first like that?

I'm newly reminded of the thrill of a candidate who, as his wife put it, will wake up every morning to make this a better place for all of our children, and will do everything he can to help life be not so hard for regular people.

Think that ever occurred, really, to the Usurper?

I'm including a third video. Stick with me here, because you'll wonder if I've gone all Harlequin on you. I would have chosen different music, and there would be no pink valentine frames with white script. I watched it through, ready for a wince that really never came.

Image after image, their connection reminds me of the John Donne's poetic image of a mature and satisfying love he compares to twin compasses (think geometry) that circle widely, strongly and independently of each other, but when those twin orbits intersect, it's the most powerful and profound meeting of hearts and mind.

It's not moon-June-spoon, gazing into lipid pools so often described as the ideal. When they look at each other, they're equals, a team. We catch their intimacy not because they have it one display, but because it is real. One look at what must have been Annie Lebowitz's photo of a the two, and you get it. They may be the first happy marriage since Truman.

It's when they're looking in the same direction that their mirrored expressions made me cry before it was over.

I'm sure I'm punch drunk from years of being forced to sustain outrage, but I believe all over again in the promise of this exceptional family. Like Malia said in their one and last family interview, it makes the kids feel good when their parents love each other. Me too, Malia. Me, too.

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