Last Tuesday, Margaret ’71 cast her vote in one of our country’s most historic elections. Along with several hundred other million US citizens. She documented the line of people around her, as well as her cat’s disdain for politics. Here are a few examples of how the election affected some other Smith alums:
Obama’s win inspired LT ’94 to finally finish revising her young adult novel:
The story is about Syrinthia James, a 15-year old girl with a White mother and a Black father. She’s grown up however, without ever knowing her father’s side of the family. Thanks to circumstances beyond her control, she’s being “exiled” to Brooklyn for the summer to live with her father’s brother and his family so she can “discover her roots.” As it turns out, her uncle’s family includes a colorful cast of characters including her Japanese aunt, her little cousin Miko, and an older cousin with a troubled past who helps Syrinthia learn to love her whole self.
Naomi ’94, however, was more somber, struggling to reconcile feeling “humbled and proud” at Obama’s win with feeling “exhausted and sad” in light of rights lost by same-sex couples. In response to a facebook message from a friend, she wrote extensively about her thoughts on the subject, ending with:
But… the Obama Presidency is not just about an African-American family in the White House; it’s not just about ending war in Iraq or helping the middle class or resolving our economic crisis. It’s about this great, intangible thing that he articulated on election night. It’s about becoming a new America—a United States of America—where we can achieve change; where we can be honest, even when it’s difficult; and where we can listen, especially when we disagree.
And while most of us will be watching the Obama family with little knowledge of what it’s like to grow up in a political family, Liza ’91 has some unique advice for the Obama family from her own childhood experiences as the daughter of two prominent people:
I sometimes joke with people that I was raised by wolves.
In reality, I was raised by politicians.
Of course most of the day to day parenting issues are the same for all parents, but when you are raised by politicians, your “normal” is a little different from most of your classmates. You have to worry more about offending people or reflecting badly on your parents. But you also learn a ton about civics, government, and current events. And mostly, you don’t even know you’re learning it until you go away to college and realize that everyone’s family doesn’t talk about those kind of things around the dinner table.
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Tags: barack obama, democracy, elections, Malia Obama, Michelle Obama, obama, politics, reflections, Sasha Obama, writing