Black Like Me.

I am officially a patriot. I took a picture with an American flag. I waved one yesterday at the Presidential Inauguration of the 44th president Barack Obama. This is not the first time politics has peaked my interest. I fell in love with American history thanks to Ms. Amdur in 10th grade. I hated and loved reading American Political Tradition by Richard Hofstadter, and loved learning about Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, and the many sides of President Lincoln. I watched the State of the Union during Clinton's final year, and was captivated because I believed what he was telling me. I voted for Gore and then Kerry and every local and state primary and general election in between. I had absentee ballots in college, and have my homepage set to

But this is different. The feeling that I have had over the past 6 months, that Barack and Michelle Obama have given me is a newfound sense that I shouldn't just vote because it is my duty as a citizen of the United States and because of all of the people who died so that I, a black woman, could have the right to vote, but that I am now an American. I finally can relate to American flag t-shirts and 4th of July celebrations. I feel like I am finally an American not because the president is also Black, but because he is Black like me.

The Obamas are like me. Michelle grew up on the South Side of Chicago and even went to my high school. She travelled off to the Ivy League, but stayed committed to her people. I love the Obamas cause they kept the bass in their voices, and make me feel like now, that is American too. Finally, we have a leader who isn't stand up for my people because it is what's right, but because he is my people. I am excited. I feel a part of the American Dream, fully.

It doesn't hurt that Barack goes to Ben's Chili Bowl and says, Naaah We straight when getting his change. I SAY THAT TOO!! That Michelle and Barack started the first dance with his hand in hers, but finished it, like I did in the old school basement parties, with my hands wrapped around my boos neck. I love that he eats at Italian Fiesta and lived next to Harold's Chicken Shack. We have a shared story and shared dreams and if he is the face of America, then I know I am truly an American, now.

So, thank you Mr. President, for making the American Dream my new reality. And I stand with Michelle, and say, for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of MY country.

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