by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Sierra Vista, Ariz.
December 2, 2008
HOLIDAY SHOPPING TO A DIFFERENT DRUMMER
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- One of the many things I'm thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day - and thank you, America, for giving us an intelligent president once again (and to you, the 58 million or so people who voted for John "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should" McCain, whatever were you thinking?) - is that we've finally seen the end of Nancy Reagan eyes.
When 24 million people tuned in to "60 Minutes" a few weeks ago to see an interview with President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, what they saw - for a change - was real married love.
The Obamas smile, tease, touch, praise and enjoy each other. They are comfortable with each other. They make each other laugh.
Goodbye to First Lady Laura Bush, who always looks as if her eyes are held open with Gorilla Glue. Have you ever seen a hint of affection between her and her husband? If anything, she looks at him sadly, as one would look at a disappointing child.
And goodbye to Hillary Clinton, who never had a chance as First Lady. A tough and brilliant woman who turned out to be ahead of her nation's time, she was forced to vacillate between pretending to bake cookies and trying to save the world. We saw the same behavior when she ran for president. Perhaps, when she becomes Secretary of State, she will finally resolve her dilemma.
And finally, finally, finally - goodbye to Nancy Reagan eyes! No more silent wifely worship and adoration - from a practiced and practicing actress.
I have loved Michelle Obama from the beginning, when she was honestly angry about her country's racism, and I love her now, when she is justly proud of us for electing her husband to be the first black president of the United States.
Here is a woman who is direct, open, natural, smart, warm, loving and lovely. Here is a woman who is real. Here is a woman who will be a joy to watch.
Love is in the White House! Maybe it will remind all of us of the power of love, especially on this day of thanks.
Which brings me to the only thing I am not thankful for during this Thanksgiving season - California's dreadful Proposition 8, which made gay marriage illegal there once again. (God bless Massachusetts and Connecticut, and hopefully soon, Vermont.)
Gay marriage is not a gay issue. It's a personal one. It's also a constitutional one.
I'm hoping that some of Obama's time in office will be devoted to separating, once again, church and state in this country. It might take a crowbar, but it is the only way that the religious right - whether in the South, the Vatican, Jerusalem or Salt Lake City - will be forced to release its death grip on our political life. As the great George Carlin once said, there is only one real commandment here: "Keep thy religion to thyself."
Once you take right-wing religion out of the issue, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the state of marriage - civil or religious - should be available to everyone in love who wants to enter into it.
America has much to atone for. We cannot erase the damage that President Bush has done. Now we must start to repair it. One way is to start with love instead of hatred and fear.
So I'd like to remind you what the British writer and director Richard Curtis said in his 2003 film, "Love Actually."
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport," one of Curtis's characters says. "General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion love actually is all around."
In the immortal words of John Lennon, "All you need is love." Happy Thanksgiving.
Joyce Marcel's first collection of columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," can be ordered from her website, joycemarcel.com. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.