Best gift ever?

With thanks to Paul Simon:

Yesterday it was my birthday,
I hung one more year on the line.
I should be depressed--
my life's a mess;
but I'm having a good time.

Okay, so Charlie has given some amazing gifts over the years. But the one I got tonight (for my 50th birthday yesterday, which I was quite happy to let go by uncommented upon, but everyone at work thought otherwise) was incredible.

I liked John Edwards as a presidential candidate. I liked him even before the newest info on Elizabeth’s health. I sent him money after Ann Coulter attacked him and he had the gumption to fight back, not just explain things away, on the heels of a great interview on Beliefnet. And, after sending “Coulter cash” and seeing how the Edwardses reacted to the news of Elizabeth’s cancer, I decided I really did like him.

When Charlie discovered that Edwards was going to be in town today for a fund raiser, just a day after my birthday, it seemed to be fate saying that he should give a bit more money and we could attend the fund raiser. But then, for just a bit more money, he found out we could be event hosts.

So, tonight we hosted the Edwards fund raiser in Macon (along with about 100 other hosts, from the size of the “host reception”). The reception was crowded and the real fund raiser was supposed to be outside, but the rain moved in early (Macon’s under a tornado watch right now), so moved into the hosts’ living room.

And Edwards spoke to the crowd. And along with my name in the invitation, a glass of (white!) wine, and a photo-opportunity in the rain, I got the real gift. I got to hope for America again.

Edwards spoke of his time since the last election and how he’s spend so much time out of the US. America used to be looked up to by folks overseas, but now they have real, valid questions about us. We know there’s genocide in Darfur and, well, there’s genocide in Darfur. He says we are different, special, the only county that can lead in so many of these areas. And today we can’t separate domestic policy from foreign policy.

He knows how important health care is and has plans to provide it for everyone. In front of a room of big donors (I went on a scavenger hunt to find people who weren’t lawyers there and it wasn’t easy!), he had the courage to say he’d roll back the Bush tax cuts for those making over $200,000.

And of course, he emphasized education and the importance of the American dream and how everyone should have the chance. Still, if you could work, you should. But something’s wrong if the top 350,000 earners in US make more than the bottom 150,000,000.

He had sense to know the room was crowded and leave out all the details. But he didn’t miss the dream.

Hope. What a cool gift.

Of course, Charlie said I now have to give him an Edwards presidency for his birthday. If only I could.

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