For the most part, Wednesday was a pretty normal day. I got up, showered, went to work, left for lunch, sat in a meeting with the President of the United States, got my hair colored, had dinner and went to bed. What? You want me to back up to the part about the POTUS?
Back up to last Saturday. On Saturday, I got an email from BlogHer, one of the amazing networks of women I belong to, telling me that our fearless leader – Lisa Stone was going to be in Charlotte on Wednesday for a “town hall” meeting on issues affecting working women. I wanted to go, but I couldn’t justify skipping out on work on such short notice. On Sunday, I got another email basically telling me the POTUS would be the speaker! What?! I spent the day Sunday thinking “there’s no way to pull this off”, Monday debating whether I should push my boss for the afternoon off, and Tuesday explaining to my boss that regardless of political affiliation, there is no way to pass on sitting down to chat with the President of the United States. Oh, yes. I was going!
I left work at noon, met up with some other blogger friends who were invited as well, and stood outside in the cold, wet weather to go through security. We had to be through security and into the room where the meeting was happening by 1:45. The POTUS was scheduled to arrive at 3. We used the wait to get to know some of the other invitees, catch up with each other, and attempt to make our Secret Service agent smile. (It was hard work, and took a lot of effort, but we managed a smile and even made him blush!)
The shear volume of cameras and lights surrounding us was staggering. We knew the meeting was being live streamed, but wow!
When 3 pm rolled around, Lisa took the mic and we were off! After I missed my chance to see the President speak at the DNC a few years ago, I never thought I’d have the chance again. To sit in the same room with the Commander in Chief is a privilege and honor, regardless of your political affiliation. The Office of the President of the United States deserves respect. Period. Just ask the ladies who were with me. There were quite a few Republicans in the mix and even they will tell you that the experience was quite amazing.
There is no question that the man is a wonderful speaker. No question at all. He took questions from the audience, rolled with microphone issues and even jumped in to make sure the few women with fussy babies knew that he heard them, but wasn’t bothered by them in the least. Most importantly, he answered the questions that were posed to him the best he could. Not all the answers were answers that everyone liked, but that’s the way it works. You can’t make everyone happy.
One thing we discussed that really stuck with me was teacher pay, specifically here in North Carolina. If you are an NC teacher, know an NC teacher or just keep up with teaching/education news in general, you know that teachers pay – especially in NC – is terrible. In fact, I don’t think terrible covers it. Clearly, neither does the POTUS. Even he said you can’t get much worse than NC. That made me incredibly sad. Incredibly. I’ll have a whole separate post on that topic coming soon, but I wanted to touch on it here as being one of our topics because I feel like teacher pay and providing a good education for our children isn’t a Republican issue, it isn’t a Democratic issue, it’s a human issue – much like most of the other topics we covered in the #ObamaTownHall meeting.
I guess where I’m going with all of this is that sometimes we should take a step back, forget about being a Republican or a Democrat and just be a human. Be intelligent, educated, humans – looking out for our kids (you know, the ones who will run this country someday) – and take a moment to look at the bi-partisan issues and do what we can to work together and make things happen!
Want to read more about #ObamaTownHall and what some of the other attendees thought? Check out these posts:
What issues do you think we ought to be talking about together, as humans – not as Democrats and Republicans?