Dear Bunny and Wallie,
For the past year, your Mamma has been living and breathing politics trying very hard--along with other mothers (your blogger aunties)--to do everything we can to get a Democrat elected to the White House, or as you understand, trying to get "The Blue Team" elected. It has been a tough year and I know I haven't always spent enough time cooking, reading, and playing games with you, but I did it for you, and if we win, girls, it will be so worth it.
We started out supporting one candidate, then that candidate dropped out, so since then, we've been supporting Barack Obama. I know that you don't fully understand why your Mamma and Papa are Democrats or why we think Barack Obama is the best person to be president for our country. When you are older, you can go back and read the history of this time and hopefully you will see why we voted the way we did. And hopefully, because you are our daughters, raised with our values which also mesh with the values of our liberal spiritual community, you will understand that whatever the outcome is on Tuesday, we made the right decision for our family and our country.
For the past year, we have known hope and we have felt a collective desire on the part of many in this country to change the way our government has been run for the past eight years. But we have also seen plenty of ugliness, hate, and fear.
We've seen it in the form of candidates who spread smears and the right-wing pundits who angrily fan those flames. We've seen in the form of emails being sent to people we know by people they love that are full of untruths, lies, and hatred. We've seen it in the eyes of people who attend rallies. We've read it on websites who count on a readership of non-critical thinkers to propagate a culture of intimidation. All of these people purposely have been playing on people's inner fears. None of this behavior helps to move our country out of the dark shadows of bigotry into the light of acceptance and loving-heartedness. No matter what these people say, our country has never been a homogeneous country. It has never been a country of only one race of people and it never will be. At times it has tried to be a country where one race controlled all others, and in some parts of the country we are still feeling the effects of those times, but those times are over.
Bunny and Wallie, when I look at you, not only do I see the world, but I see all the best possibilities of what the New America can be. Like your mother, Barack Obama has a father who wasn't born in this country. He lives in Italy. You haven't met him yet, but you will soon. Like your mother, Barack Obama spent his early years living outside the U.S. and like your mother, that experience shaped who he is today. Like your mother, Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii, a beautiful melting pot of races and cultures, and like your mother, that is where Barack Obama learned not to be afraid of different ideas, religions, and cultures.
Because of these experiences, some people have tried to say that Barack Obama is not as American as others or that he doesn't love his country as much as other Americans do. If they say that about Barack Obama, then the same must be true for me and the millions of other multicultural Americans who cannot deny that they are citizens not only of this country, but also of the world. You have an American family and an Italian family, and that doesn't make you or anyone else in a similar situation any less patriotic or American than it does me. I am an American. So are you. I want you girls to close your hearts to that kind of fear and intimidation.
It wasn't until my family moved from Hawaii to the mainland when I was 11 that I finally understood what racism was all about. I was asked if I spoke English. I was called names like "China Doll." I was insulted because of my "differentness." I was pulled aside as given talking-tos by people who supposedly were my friends when I dated people outside of my "race" or social group whatever that means. I suppose that was to try to "knock sense into me," but it only steeled my resolve not to conform to what others expected of me. I have never been a follower except of my own heart. My heart and mind were opened by my formative years and it was going to stay that way.
If all goes well, in just a few short days, we will have our first bi-racial, bi-cultural president. Finally, a president that I can relate to because I am bi-racial and bi-cultural and the experiences that shaped his young life are similar to the experiences that shaped mine. Bunny and Wallie, in Barack Obama, you can also see yourselves: a multicultural citizen of the world with a mind that is open to all ideas and with a heart that is capable of loving all people. That is my hope for you and that is why your parents voted for Barack Obama.