Thanks Obama. It was a meme, a joke. Started as a jab at a man that many didn’t want to see in the White House. Over time, though, it was adopted by a President with a sense of humor and then, with sincerity, by his supporters.
I live in the Heartland, the Midwest, home of the talk radio Conservative fan. Needless to say, being a Pacific Northwestern girl with moderate to liberal ideals and a taste for vintage style, I definitely stand out!
I’ve often been given the business over my support of the Obamas because a few of the people who know me thought it clashed, greatly, with my preference for older things and bygone times. In this part of the country, there seems to have been the feeling that Obama should never have been elected. Most couldn’t really recall something he’d done that pushed their buttons, he just had different views and, frankly, different skin and for a good amount of people that was enough to make him impeachable. How, then, could I possibly support this man and still call myself a lover of the past?
Well, before I answer that, I’m going to point out that having a fondness for manners and respect, as well as old clothing, entertainment and cars, is not the same thing as wanting to live in a time before Civil Rights. I’m very happy living my life in the days of miracle technology, the internet and widespread calls for equality. My ethics and morals are modern, and I’m happy they are.
Now, about the question of whether or not supporting a Liberal President is, in fact, against the vintage grain? It most certainly is not. Several popular, historically revered Liberal Democrats have held the office! Franklin Delano Roosevelt comes to mind, as does John F. Kennedy. In fact, I feel that the Obamas gave me the ability to realize a vintage goal that I’d had to put on the back burner during the Bush administration – the ability to be devoutly patriotic.
I’ve been a self-described ‘Patriot’ all of my life, ever since I was a child. My mother made most of her money in the entertainment industry but her passion was her work in politics. She volunteered for several Presidential campaigns, including Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton. A love of country and need to keep in the loop were just part of the job of being in the family, and that suited me just fine.
When I stopped the yo-yo of fashion styles I was interested in, about twelve or thirteen years ago, and landed on the fashion of the 1930s and 1940s, a whole new world opened up to me. I found through searching and research that there were others like me who didn’t just wear flowers in their hair or don a nice fedora, but tried to model their lives after a bygone time. And it was really appealing, as I’d always felt out of sync with my generation and wanted something new, interesting and more structured.
Unfortunately, there was one thing about a vintage life that I had to leg go of, and that was my strong sense of patriotism. At the time, George W. Bush was President and the horrible way things were handled, from wars to debt to the Patriot Act, combined with the combative and sometimes frightening way other self-described ‘Patriots’ were behaving in their rush to defend the POTUS, it was very hard to be proud of my country.
It wasn’t until a full year into Obama’s first term that I realized that I was no longer embarrassed to introduce myself as American anymore, and that I was feeling that swell of pride in the grace, class and dignity that the Obamas brought to the White House. The beautiful children, the First Lady taking health and nutrition so seriously, the way the family handled criticism and outright hate. I was feeling my Patriotism again, strongly, for the first time in almost a decade.
In eras past, being patriotic and hoping for the success of your country and President was the norm, even if you disagreed with their politics. Every family, every group, with political or religious disagreements will always have moments where they try to shout each other down, though. I don’t think we’ve ever been free of that!
While former President Obama left office with sky-high approval ratings, I realize he’s not to everyone’s taste and I fully believe that every person has the right to their own beliefs and views. These are mine. I’ve spent the last seven years as a faith-restored Patriot, something I’d sorely missed.