It's Jan. 20, and it is the Inauguration Day of Donald Trump, but I am still in awe of Jan. 2009, and the Obama inauguration. I was five months pregnant with my second son at the time and high on a cloud at the idea that my sweet baby would be born under the presidency of a black man, something my father always said could never happen in his lifetime. And there I was, all dressed up with my husband at Obama’s Neighborhood Ball. It was surreal. However, the most thing exciting of it all was knowing that my little one would never live to think, as my father was, that a black man could never be elected president of the United States.
Two weeks ago, the reality of today and Trump's inauguration hit me hard. I started thinking of that same baby of mine, who is now seven years old. He knows so much about Barack Obama. He is well aware of how much his father and I love and respect he and Michelle.
He also knows a lot about Trump more than I would have even believed. The night of the 2016 election, he came to me and said he was afraid that if Trump won, his Hispanic friend from school would have to leave the country. My heart broke, as I tried to convince him that there's no way Trump would win. Then, I went on to explain that no matter who won, our country would still do what’s best for us. All of us. Even as I said it, I doubted my own beliefs about how true that was.
And so, here we are at the 2017 inauguration. I'm worried about how much my son will remember about the precious Obama family in the White House. I worry that it will be lost in the history of his memories and that what he will remember most vividly is America under a disastrous Trump presidency. Similarly, I was born in 1978, under the beloved Former President Jimmy Carter’s administration, but I have absolutely no recollection of him. My first memory of a president is Ronald Reagan, and none of those memories are good ones. My first son doesn’t remember Former President George W. Bush, and he was born under that presidency. What if my baby loses the feeling of hope and opportunity that we all had seeing the coolest man to ever run this country with the utmost integrity? What if he, in fact, still grows up with the thought that a black man could NEVER become president again?
Both Barack and Michelle Obama, have been nothing but inspiration and motivation to our young people for the past eight years. Michelle said all throughout the last election that she was most concerned for “our kids.” Now that this Trump is here, I have succumbed to that same concern deep in my gut when I think about my children and even the students the 5th-grade classes I teach.
So, here is my plan. I will resolve to give my sons four more years of President Obama and First Lady Michelle. How? Well, luckily, the presidency of Barack Obama was during a time where social media has exploded. This means that we have access to a massive amount of photos, interviews, speeches and other videos of the first family to fall back on.
Now, I don’t want my son to be confused and sound uneducated at school. He will know that Donald J. Trump is technically our president (depending on who you talk to). However, I am truly afraid of the things that come out of the mouth of that man. So, I have an arsenal of videos at hand, ready to counter any negativity that Trump puts out over the next four years. When he gives his 100-day speech, I will play Obama's in my home. When he gives a press conference, I will play one of Obama addressing the same issues. When he gives a state of the union speech, again, I will play one of Obama’s. When Trump is tweeting insults and snapping back at opponents, I will play the video of Obama brushing his shoulders off at his haters. I want my son to have this comparison fresh in his mind through these years.
My pledge: I will make it my business, for my children to remember the hope. And beyond the hope, they will remember the reality of what our country was like under the president that not only looks like us but believes in us and fought for us. They will remember that they matter because they too can become something that no one believes they can become. They will understand why Barack Obama is my forever president.
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