Probably the best footage I’ve ever seen that represents their relationship was this footage shot behind the scenes while they both were seated on stage during some other talking-head’s speech, and Barack and Michelle were holding hands. But it was different. He had this shy boyish smile, the kind teens will have when they’re ogling someone they’ve got a mad crush on, as he looked down at her hand and kept tracing his thumb over it, outlining her fingers, playing with her ring, and squeezing it here and there. And he just kept having this little shy grin as the moment stretched on and on, totally unaware the camera was on him, just having this seemingly private-yet-public endless moment with his wife in front of thousands of people, while someone else apparently had the camera and the limelight on ’em.
And I just thought, you know, you don’t see that in politics. You don’t see romantic gestures with intimacy and immediacy. There’s a reason so many political marriages are called marriages of convenience, or political unions. Passion doesn’t seem to have been their primary motivation, most of the time.
I mean, it’s awesome to see a 14-year marriage with passion, and in public. They’ve publically admitted they have a great sex life. They still have “date” nights, and regularly, even during the campaign. He’s religious about getting home for family Sundays, even during the heated campaign he’s been waging. Their two kids giggle and laugh, openly admitting that they love it when their parents cuddle and kiss in front of them, and they’re not ashamed at all about their parents’ romantic life.
Michelle Obama said it pretty great when asked if she was worried about fidelity in politics: “I never worry about things I can’t affect, and with fidelity … that is between Barack and me, and if somebody can come between us, we didn’t have much to begin with.”
In a day and age when the standard relationship is being redefined by 90% of society because they largely can’t make them work, or don’t think they CAN work, it’s fucking stellar to see someone, anyone, in the public eye have a real, true, obvious love affair that’s been going on for well over a decade.
I’m tired of hearing of people who’ve made their marriage work after a decade but only because they opened their beds to open relationships. I understand that, but I want to believe that one doesn’t need to compromise in that way, that the “one true love” isn’t just some illusory fairytale we tell our children to keep them from shagging before they’re ready.
I don’t want to be married. I don’t want kids. But I want to believe THAT love is possible, with or without legal union. The kind of love where two people stay charged and passionate and in love with each other in every way they can be. I believe in that love. I always have. I think it’s rare, I think it’s something few of us will ever be lucky enough to find, but I love the dream of it. And I love the possibility, even the reality of it, as demonstrated by this amazing couple.
Seeing it there, real-live-in-the-flesh, and maybe even in the highest office in America, on the news, every day… what a positive thing for love as a whole.
We, as a people, as lovers, as romantics, we need to see that. We need to know it’s possible, it exists, and it can be perpetuated. That it can last in the face of one of the most challenging jobs in the world. That work and responsibilities can be overcome by love and communication when they’re done right.
Because god knows no one else has really been demonstrating the possibility of that of late, not really. Especially since Paul Newman, who was never accused of infidelity, and who loved and lived with Joanne Woodward more than 50 years, has now left this realm.
I say, let love win. I would love nothing more than to see THAT relationship in the news, and often, over the next four (dare I say eight?) years. And for far more reasons than just because it’d be “nice”.
[That it’d come with sound economic and social policy? Holy icing on the cake, Batman.]