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Monday, January 19, 2009


My grandmother has Alzheimer's. Sometime around 2000 her mind just stopped and everything since then is kind of hazy. She knows who I am but has no idea how old I am. She's been living in my parent's house for five months but still thinks she's going back to her apartment in Jersey City any day now. Often she'll try to leave the house, and when you bring her back in has no idea where she was going or why she wanted to leave.

And every time she sees Barack Obama on TV, she says the same exact thing:

"I thought we had to vote for the President in this country. How'd he become president so quickly?"

That's right, my grandmother doesn't think there's any way that a black man could have possibly been elected President of the United States.

I think it's worthwhile to recall that while most of us in the last months of the campaign just assumed he'd be elected president, and a great deal were fervently hoping it would happen, it's still a big shock to the system. My grandmother isn't stuck in the sixties, she's not even a racist. But what she'll watch on television tomorrow will shock her again.

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