Meeting The Obamas On Martha's Vineyard


We live on Martha's Vineyard. The island is known as the vacation spot for several presidents. They love it here because it is a very special place. Our island home is in Chilmark, the up island farm country where President Obama and his family always stay.

We were thrilled when we learned that they were coming to our neck of the woods. The first year they vacationed here they stayed on our road. I began to strategize on how I could meet them. So one day when my adorable African-American friend and her irresistible 2-year-old daughter were visiting I decided it would be a good time to bump into them on their beach. Monique and Zuri were game, so we set out without a bottle of water or a towel between us. An hour and a half later, parched and sunburned with Zuri screaming her head off, we decided to turn around.

Another year, the Secret Service were headquartered across the dirt road from my sister's house. We decided it was a good idea to try charming them and descended on them bearing homemade blue fish pate and quinine soda. We asked them to convey to the Obamas that their daughters were invited to come and ride our daughter's horses. Again we didn't even catch a glimpse of them.

This summer we learned that some friends of ours were hosting a fundraiser for Hillary and that President Obama was going to be there. Finally! This was the summer I would meet this great man and hopefully his amazing wife! Surely we would be invited. It would cost, of course, but we want to support Hillary anyway. A win-win situation for everyone.

My excitement was short-lived. It turned out the DNC were doing the inviting and the price of the tickets was in the thousands -- mid double digits per person -- I'm not kidding.

Reluctantly I decided we just couldn't swing it. But the fact that this was Obama's last year and we were not likely to see another President as gracious, as cool, or as thoughtful in our lifetime, really bothered me. Then unbeknownst to me, my sister, Lynne, tried to convince our friends who were throwing the party that as "celebrities," (mostly my husband), the DNC should be happy to have us there. Perhaps at a reduced rate.

Anyway, long story short, we were invited, by our friends as their guests the morning of the event. Had Lynne been the catalyst? Possibly. We were embarrassed. Had we been cheap? Perhaps. After watching the Democratic Convention I had completely embraced Hillary. She had been maligned for so long for so many things that weren't true. When, in fact, she has tirelessly devoted her life to women's and children's issues, and fought for the rights of all the disenfranchised. But now even women have turned against her for her style or her looks, or her loyalty to Bill. Suddenly it all seemed like terrible sexism and yet I still just couldn't bring myself to pony up that kind of cash.

My friend's home, already beautiful, was sparkling the day of. We gathered in the backyard by the infinity pool overlooking the Atlantic. We knew a lot of people and everyone was excited to meet the President so there was an electricity in the air. We were then told to line up and go through the house into the living room where we would shake hands and get our pictures taken with him.

We finally got into the room. There he stood in all his glory in khakis and a checked shirt. A young man whispered something in his ear, letting Obama know who we were, I assume. After his aide gestured for us to approach, I, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically, rushed forward, grabbed his hand and blurted out "we love you" and he answered, as he has many times when someone yells that from the audience, "I love you too" and for some reason, you believe him. I said a few inane things about him moving to New York and coming to see us in a play when we're in one. And we moved off. I didn't feel like an idiot the way I had when I met Bill Clinton and I couldn't speak. President Obama seemed so approachable, non-judgmental and warm. I felt like I wanted to talk to him more.

Then we sat down to dinner with maybe 65 people at seven tables. And we were seated up front, six feet from where Obama was speaking. He was very relaxed and didn't seem like he was selling anything.

He said "You say you love me now but it hasn't always been like that during my administration." He talked about how democrats get all excited for the presidential election, but basically drop the ball for the mid-terms. And then sit back and criticize the president for the rest of his term even though they haven't helped him. " I'm Not an Emperor. And no president can do it alone. If we don't have the Congress it's nearly impossible to get anything substantive done."

He spoke about Hillary for a long time. About how much respect he has for her. About how unimaginably impossible the office of the presidency is, where decisions you have to make could affect millions of people. And Hillary has been in that position as secretary of state, as an advisor to him, and to Bill and she has shown an understanding of the stakes and had great presence of mind and calm in the face of it. He gave credit to Bernie for keeping her progressive. And he almost never mentioned her opponent by name.

"And don't let anyone tell you it's in the bag. This election is too uncertain and volatile. Our opponent too dangerous."

He said it isn't enough to beat him by a small margin it has to be a whooping. Because, if we don't, the Republican party will not get the message that they have to change. And we want them to change. To return to the old GOP. We want an intelligent, strong adversary. That's what the democratic ideal is dependent on.

I felt sort of baptized by the event. We've been so entrenched in this cynicism and anti- government rhetoric that we've lost sight of the fact that our elected leaders are the only ones that stand between us and total bedlam. We need ethical people who consider all the issues, weigh our options and act on our behalf. Of course there are political games and missteps but to throw in the towel and elect someone who is not a politician for novelties sake is insane. Hillary, Barack, and Bernie have spent their lives in public service. They have been studying the global and domestic landscape for their whole careers. Why would we want to settle for less?

I was all fired up and ready to go knock on people's doors by the time we left. I was thinking maybe that's even more important than giving money when my wonderful, generous husband took out his check book and gave the DNC the full amount for the tickets.

"Catch new episodes of Brooke's web series, All Downhill From Here, every Tuesday through November 8th on Youtube, or visit"

"Catch new episodes of Brooke's web series, All Downhill From Here, every Tuesday through November 8th on Youtube, or visit"

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Sexy Over 50 Men