Yesterday at 4:32 p.m. my heart stopped.
This was the moment I received an email informing me that my request to hear President Obama speak had been approved. Cha-ching! It was only a few hours earlier that I received a message from the American Sustainable Business Council – a coalition of businesses (one of which is UG) committed to a vibrant, just, and sustainable economy – saying there were a limited number of seats available. I swooped in like a hawk.
I was thrilled that UncommonGoods was invited (well, truthfully, I kind of invited myself). I was honored that I was allowed to attend. And I was sweating one big question. What would I wear?
After ripping apart my breadbox-sized closet Thursday morning, I finally chose the perfect Michelle-inspired look (sheath dress, cardi, belt combo) and was ready to face the Secret Service and rub elbows with political figures I had only witnessed on CNN.
Or, at least I thought I was prepared. As I walked down the stairs and entered The Great Hall, the historic site where Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and FDR have all set foot, I saw them. Like suited, salt-n-pepper versions of Pitt, Clooney, Damon and Cruise — it was Bloomberg, Cuomo, Patterson and Emanuel. My heart stopped again. Most girls love celebrities, but I’m a political groupie.
Before fainting, I luckily spotted a familiar face, UG CEO David Bolotsky, and watched as he chatted up New York’s elected officials with ease. I shook a few hands and even got a wink (I can’t flirt and tell) while I took in the enormity of the occasion. Finally calmed, I took my seat and waited for the main event.
I think people now more than ever are jaded when it comes to politics. After endless months of Hilary’s pantsuits, Sarah “the hockey mom” Palin, mavericks and economic meltdowns, it seems that Americans, myself included, see our politicians more as SNL characters than as mentors. But when President Obama took the stage, all of that changed. Suddenly, instead of a sound bite or a Google image, he was real. Just a few feet in front of me, he was larger-than-life, handsome and charismatic. I beamed when he waved, had to hold myself back from screaming like he was a rock star.
I didn’t get a fist bump and a speech on the economic crisis probably won’t change my life. However, it did give me a renewed sense of trust in my Commander in Chief. Because sometimes, you truly do have to see something to believe it.