I get it now.
I finally understood.
On the grass, in the middle of 100,000 people, holding my son.
Sure, I advocated for Obama, I've campaigned for Obama. I've been a Democrat my whole life.
But on a Sunday in October, in downtown Denver, I finally understood why this election is essential (and I do not use that word lightly) to Brody's life. More on that in a minute.
First, however, let me just tell you, you have not said the Pledge of Allegiance until you've said the Pledge of Allegiance with 100,000 other people surrounding you.
Brody and I were on a grassy knoll, and the speaker announced the Pledge of Allegiance. Everyone around me instantly put their hands over their hearts, and said those words. I got chills, and a little teary eyed. This was before Obama spoke, before anyone spoke I think. It's quite awe-inspiring to hear strangers beside, before and behind you reciting words along with you describing your joint allegiance to your nation.
Also, even before then, there was an energy in the crowd of anticipation, excitement, hope and community. I had Brody in the stroller and no fewer than 6 different people helped me with him while we waited in the security line (he was fairly cranky after the first hour of waiting).
Eventually, after Brody sat on my shoulders eating crackers, had a meltdown and fell asleep on me, and after some folks offered us their lawn chair, Obama came to the podium and delivered his speech.
It was right around the mid-point that I had the epiphany. I finally understood what this election means in my heart, and how critical for Brody it is that Obama be elected. Brody was still asleep on my shoulder, and Obama started speaking about health insurance, and how his mom was denied cancer treatment because the insurance company said it was a pre-existing condition. And he said that he will make it so that insurance companies have to cover pre-existing conditions. And I looked down at my sleeping son, and a wave of realization crashed over me and overwhelmed me.
One of the issues Jeremy and I were most worried about when Brody was born was health insurance. He was born with multiple medical issues. All pre-existing. Brody is on Jeremy's health insurance through his work (it's better than mine). What if Jeremy gets laid off and we have to switch Brody to my health insurance? Everything he needs care for is pre-existing. What happens when Brody is an adult and gets his own health insurance? Would it cover an operation on his kidney? Would it cover a dilation surgery on his esophagus? No.
I've known about Obama's idea to require coverage of pre-existing conditions for over a year. But when Obama said what he said at the rally, something about being right there, in the presence of so many people, so many other kids, and having witnessed the serious illnesses of other children with Vacterl association and just the notion that, finally, someone thought it was time to change insurance companies' utterly unfair control over the health of children like Brody, especially Brody. . .
I started crying. Completely. Tears streaming down my face. I squeezed sleeping Brody in my arms and whispered to him "This is for you, baby, this is all for you. We will get this for you."