September 01, 2008

Obama and McCain to Cheering Crowd: "It's the Story of America!"

After a day of suspense and mystery, when all their campaigns would divulge is that the two men had a wonderful and momentous announcement -- the word "miracle" was often mentioned without explanation -- Barack Obama and John McCain held a joint rally before a crowd estimated at over 100,000 people. The Democratic presidential nominee, the first African-American to run for the highest office in the land on the ticket of a major party, and the presumptive Republican nominee walked onto the platform in the middle of the excited, if puzzled, throng, accompanied by their wives and extended families. After the crowd finally quieted down, Obama and McCain stepped up to the microphone together. Obama began to speak, but then stopped and looked questioningly at McCain, who just nodded emphatically and gestured for Obama to go ahead.

"My fellow Americans, John and I are both deeply grateful for all the support you've given us and for being here today," Obama began. "What we're about to tell you may be very surprising, even shocking to some of you. But every word of it is true, as Dr. Herzenpfeffer over there will tell you." At those words, a distinguished-looking, portly gentleman who appeared to be in his mid-fifties stepped forward from the Obama family group, and graciously and solemnly lowered his head in confirmation. "I told Michelle all of this in the last few days, and John told Cindy. We have their full, unconditional support and love and understanding." Obama gently chuckled and added, "Well, as much as any of us understands this."

"The fact is," Obama continued, "I fell in love with another person just about a year ago. I fell in love with...John. And," he quickly went on, "John fell in love with me." Gasps of shock and dismay ran through the crowd, and people began whispering to each other. Obama raised his hand to quiet the crowd again and went on: "We can't tell you why it happened, but it did. Our love was strong and real, and it grew." Obama paused for a moment, and then began to sing very softly: "Who can explain it, who can tell you why..." McCain could be heard murmuring in a choked voice, "Our song..." And then the two men clasped hands, both hands, and sang together: "Fools give you reasons, wise men never try..."

Not a sound could be heard. It seemed that everyone had stopped breathing. After a few moments, the men stepped apart just a little. "But that's not the miracle you've been hearing about," Obama stated in muted tones, measuring each word. "The miracle is this." He paused once more, and the moments before he spoke again seemed to go on forever. "Dr. Herzenpfeffer informed me, just a week ago, that...I'm pregnant...with John's child." As everyone looked from Obama to McCain, they could see that both men had begun to cry, as had their wives (although possibly for somewhat different reasons). A few tears could be seen coursing down the face of Dr. Herzenpfeffer himself. Obama straightened his shoulders and brushed away his tears: "And that's not all." More gasps could be heard. What else could he possibly have to say? "The baby is due on election day!" Obama and McCain looked at each other, and together they said, looking out at the amazed gathering: "It's a sign!"

McCain then stepped to the microphone: "My friends, my friends..." He and Obama both gestured to the crowd to lower the murmurs that had begun to rise. "The miracle of our love for each other, and the miracle of Barack's pregnancy -- topped by the incredible fact that the baby is due on November 4th! -- made us realize, as we hope you will realize too, that this is something much bigger than any one of us, much bigger than party, maybe even bigger than country. I can't believe I'm saying that, but it's true! This is bigger than the whole world! We're being given a message, a message to unite, to love one another fully and completely, to come together as compassionate, caring people, without regard or concern for race, or religion, or sex. We're all people, equal and the same! We have to love each other, just as Barack and I love each other."

Obama spoke again: "We don't understand what all this means -- who among us could? -- but we realize this miracle calls for a completely new way of doing things. Oh, I know I've said that a lot during this campaign, and John has too, but given these incredible developments, we all have to try to rise to the occasion. So what we want to do is this. We ask for the support of everyone in both our parties, and for support from all of you. No matter who wins in November," and here Obama paused for a few seconds, "no matter who wins, we want to govern as co-presidents. We both want to move into the White House, with both our families. We all want to come together, just as we want all of you to come together, just as we want our nation and the world to come together! Can we do that? Can we? Can we set aside our differences and finally, before it's too late, all come together as one? Can we?"

Then Obama, McCain, their wives and children and everyone else on the platform joined hands. As one, they all asked of the crowd: "Can we?" Several moments of seemingly interminable silence ensued. Then a lone voice was heard: "Yes, we can!" Then another voice: "Yes, we can!" More and more voices joined the cry, and finally the entire crowd was chanting: "Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!" Everyone started hollering and cheering. Obama turned to McCain, took him in his arms, and the two men kissed passionately. A few people gasped in surprise but most seemed completely unfazed by now, and then the two men kissed their wives just as passionately. The cheers continued. Many in the crowd started sobbing, sobs of joy and happiness, both women and men.

The cheering and hollering went on for several minutes. When it died down a little bit, a woman near the platform yelled out: "But Barack, how can you be pregnant? You're so skinny!" Obama started laughing, as did McCain. Everyone on the platform laughed, including Dr. Herzenpfeffer. Obama stepped back to the microphone: "Well, have you ever seen a pregnant man? What would one look like anyway? Like me, I guess!" The crowd laughed at that, as Dr. Herzenpfeffer held out his open hands and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "Damned if I know!" Obama went on: "And let me tell you, I've worked darn hard to get my body in this shape. And the ladies sure seem to like it. I know Michelle does, and John seems to like it, too, don't you, John?" As Obama winked at him, McCain blushed and playfully gave Obama a shove. "Oh, Barack," McCain murmured, as he leaned over and gave Michelle Obama a kiss on the cheek, as Obama kissed her on the other. "So I'm gonna keep it in shape! Yes, I can!," Obama shouted.

After a few moments, Obama spoke for the final time of the afternoon. "We must see to it that this miracle is given its due, that we try to apply its lessons as best we understand them. But think about it. John and I fell in love, and I got pregnant. We still love our wives, as we always will. We all want to live together as one family for the rest of our lives. And our baby will be born on election day. It'll be an interracial, biracial, omniracial, all kinds of racial baby, with two dads and two moms, and with lots of crazy relatives, just like all your families! Well, that last part, anyway." As he threw his head back and laughed, the crowd whooped and screamed in approval. "So think about it. Isn't it a great story for our time, for all times? It's the story of America -- and the story of a new world!"

As the loudest cheers of the afternoon rang out, everyone on the platform began embracing and kissing. Strangers in the crowd grabbed each other, and they embraced and kissed, too. The chants of, "Yes, we can!," periodically erupted. It turned into a celebration, and it went on for several hours.

The afternoon turned into the evening, and then into night. People all over the country and around the world began to consider the day's incredible events, and they wondered what it all meant. Everyone knew that a new page had been turned in America's story, maybe in the history of the world. After all the talk, all the comments and all the questions and attempted explanations, people grew reflective. A blessed peace finally descended on the land, and a silence.

And not another word was heard, for a long, long, long time.