Barack Obama has stated from the outset that his race was not about a cult of personality but a movement – a movement which requires something of all of us. Like Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” The next several years will require us to be the best we can be.
It is in that spirit that I emphatically state that Barack Obama is not my hero. My hero is a 16 year old man. This young man has been dealing with his parents’ unnecessarily painful divorce and the fact that his mom has one of the worst illnesses a person could have. He watches as piece by piece she is taken away from him. He cooks all his own meals. He sometimes carries her or buttons her coat. He stays calm if she suddenly can’t breathe or she wakes him up screaming because she’s broken a toe. He has the courage to tell her when life with her feels like “holding a hot poker” and a love of life that allows him to put it behind him at times and just laugh with her.
All that would be enough to make him my hero, but wait – there’s more. This 16 year old has angered some very immature adults who happen to run our small town by having the temerity to disagree with them ( in a measured and balanced way I might add) in his blog on the Albany High site. These “leaders” have called this 16 year old out publicly and accused him (in leaflets dropped on Albany doorsteps) of “Karl Rove-like smear tactics”. Still his response is mature and measured and far more fact-driven than that of these adults, who should be the ones setting the example.
My hero has always combined wisdom and intellect. It was never his amazing brain that got me, but his measured eye and his tender heart - a heart that has been growing like a sea monkey this past year. I’m proud to leave behind some good writing and recordings of my singing but my true legacy, the thing that makes it all worthwhile – is Maclen Zilber.
Another hero is Allison who had a scary allergic reaction to one of her chemo drugs yesterday and as a result will have to have her chemo extended until June. This is a huge disappointment for her and not much to be done for it except perhaps cheery spring hats and lots of love. She is at the beginning of a long and difficult journey.
All you Muselings who write in and tell me about your mom or dad with ALS, your own battles with diseases, the loss of children, loved ones – we all have a story to tell that would break our listener’s heart. If only we could hear that story before we jumped to a conclusion, or took an unfortunate action. The audacity of kindness and understanding.
Invited you to a party
In the ballroom tonight
Will be my special
How would you then treat them
And Hafiz knows
There is no one in this world
Is not upon
His Jeweled Dance