OP-EDS

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January 16, 2009

Save the last dance

The least you could have done, Barack, was invite me to your inaugural ball

Barack Obama, why didn’t you invite me to your ball?

I understand if you’re a little mad at me. I was given so many opportunities to assist you, to change the world, to personally call every swing voter across the nation during their respective dinnertimes—I could have delivered Indiana to you in one fell swoop! But I did nothing to help, trusting the task instead to my four trillion peers who huffed and puffed their way into Sosc, always 15 minutes late and always triumphantly carrying oversized Obama/Biden placards as though they had just finished handing them out to nearsighted giants from Florida and Ohio. They were better cut out for the job, I thought then.

I voted for you, too, and don’t think that my status as a Californian had no bearing on your sweep. Where would you be without the Golden State? The last president who did us wrong—Bush—nearly had a sanitation center named after him. You, perhaps, could become the namesake of the Barack Obama International Landfill if you’re not careful.

On Election Night, I was right there, squatting in the middle of the Grant Park softball field amidst a smelly forest of legs because after six hours of standing and watching CNN commentators beam at holograms, I needed to sit down. When you came out to stand behind your bulletproof shield and tell everyone how wonderful our lives would be now that you’re our new Abe, I think I saw you for a split second as I jumped up and down trying to get a look at history. I cheered with everyone when you were declared the winner, and I took part in that weird, creepy chant of “Change! Change! Change!” I was your girl, Barack.

And lest you forget, we’ve met. I bought your book and stood in line to shake your hand back when you were just a bestselling author. I asked you what your favorite movie was in that long moment we shared together, just you and me and a couple of Secret Service agents, and you chuckled and said it was a tie between Lawrence of Arabia and the first two Godfather movies. That was before you had a Facebook with all your favorite things listed, of course, so I was privy to an exclusive secret, and if you had asked, I would have told you mine, too.

So I figured I’d be a shoo-in for the inauguration festivities, all things considered. I waited expectantly for that thick parchment envelope to arrive—spritzed with Barack Obama–scented cologne, no doubt—but it never came. Nothing to say about how you hoped I could make it to your parade or your oath. You didn’t even want me at your ball.

I’m struggling to understand what happened. Speech after speech was directed at me—right at me—explaining your policy, convincing me you would be a good president, promising me a new era of politics. Maybe I never went door-to-door in Indiana and maybe I never gave you money, even when Michelle and Joe Biden and Al Gore sent pleas beseeching me to give just a couple of dollars. But you were talking to me, weren’t you?

So really, I don’t see why I’m not invited to your ball. You could waltz; I could tango badly. It would be grand.

But I guess when it comes down to it, this is how it is: I’m not friends with Barack Obama in real life, even if I am on Facebook.

Claire McNear is a second-year in the College majoring in political science