Dear every GOP Senator who voted today to move forward on repealing the ACA,
Barack Obama still beat you.
That’s right. The guy with the funny name and the big ears and the brown, brown skin.
He beat you. He beat you good.
You know who I’m talking about, right? That guy. The one with the beautiful, blacker-even-than-he-was (gasp!) wife who committed the great sin of trying to get people to take a stroll and eat the occasional vegetable. You recall him, I believe? Unlike Kislyak, he’s easy to remember. You know: the tall, handsome one, with the cute kids and the broad smile and the extensive vocabulary?
The one with the Ivy League degrees earned without the help of family money or a legacy name?
The one who won more votes for president than any other person in American history?
The one with the truly impressive inauguration crowd photos?
Yeah, that guy: Barack Hussein Obama. Oh, you sure adored emphasizing that middle name of his! It was your little wink-wink, nudge-nudge, on Fox News or CNN (pre “Fake News!”). You enjoyed needling him with the name he was proud of, the name his father gave him. That gave you a little thrill, didn’t it?
He still beat you.
Let’s be real – you stopped giving a shit about not-rich and not-Russian people years ago, but you’d be far less anxious to repeal a now-popular-with-your-constituents, landmark healthcare bill that saves thousands of lives a year if it had been signed by a Democrat with appropriately lily-white hands.
But you still can’t get over it that this brown nobody, who wasn’t groomed for Capitol Hill (or at least the Alabama State House) from birth, whose parents’ interracial marriage used to be illegal in many US states, beat you.
And people loved him. Love him, still. They cheer him wherever he goes, with his crisp shirt unbuttoned at the neck, revealing his well-earned vacation tan. Still in his fit fifties, he has years of accolades and humanitarian work ahead of him, while you all have one foot in the grave and the other tied up in the twisted old Confederate flag Bree Newsome tossed defiantly into the sun-baked dirt.
He was, and is, better than you. He changed history, regardless of what you do to his bill now. He changed the conversation. He raised expectations. He made us better, while you drag us down and try, with hand over heart and a word or two about God uttered with a glance up at the dome, to kill the meekest among us.
He was not, and is not, perfect. God, far from it. But he is, above all, a decent man: no sleaze, no scandal, not one opening for you to jab in the knife of, “Him?! An example for our kids?”
Because he is an example, for all kids. Regardless of color or creed or gender or age.
That’s the future, you know. We’re starting to live in it. A world where your grandson may come home from sports practices one day and tell you he wants to grow up to be as good an athlete as Serena, or where your millennial niece may tell you she decided to become an activist because of John Lewis. A world where your son’s decision to join the armed forces is inspired not by John McCain’s sacrifice, but by Tammy Duckworth’s.
You lost the future years ago. You’re losing it every day. As narrow-minded and cruel as you are, you must be scared. It’s scary when everything you’ve ever known to be true about your own innate superiority is shown to be a lie. I’d almost feel sorry for you, if it weren’t for the fact that you’re actively working to harm or kill anyone who looks or thinks or loves or worships differently from you.
I’m sure many of you will go to sleep tonight contented with the days’ work, grateful that your esteemed colleague’s newfound terminal cancer diagnosis hasn’t deterred him from his goal of taking healthcare away from millions of his fellow human beings. But as unconsciousness overtakes you in your soft beds in your D.C. townhouses, I hope one final recollection rises to the surface and echoes softly in the back of your minds:
Barack Obama, the first black president, is better than you. And he still beat you.