ONTD Political

Obama’s sign language goes viral

1:14 pm - 03/21/2012
He sings. He looks great in sunglasses. He hasn’t tried to punish the American female population for having uteruses lately. Barack Obama may be far from perfect, but he’s pretty goddamn cool.

The latest evidence? His encounter with 26-year-old Prince George’s Community College student Stephon, who was born deaf. As Districon reports, the president was appearing at an energy policy event with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley when the young man got close enough to shake his hand. That’s when Stephon told him in sign language, “I’m proud of you.” And Obama smiled and signed back, “Thank you.” Afterward, Stephon signed on YouTube that what transpired between them “was so amazing… I was just speechless.”

It wasn’t the first time Obama has demonstrated that he has some basic signing skills – he similarly delighted the blogging community four years ago when he signed to a fan on the campaign trail. But his latest interaction was both a lovely moment of bonding and empathy and a swell reminder to all of us of the stunning power of being able to communicate, even a little, in another language.

"Hello, I would love to share my experience; something that I will not forget for rest of my life. Today was a special day for me, and I was preparing for it. It was announced yesterday, March 14, for everyone to receive tickets to see none other than the President of the United States, Barack Obama!

When I got ready to get up the morning at 7 am, I did not rush and took my time since the admission started at 8:30 am. I ate some breakfast and got onto the train to get to Prince George’s Community College. When I got there, there was such a long line and I got so worried that I wouldn’t get a good seat to be able to see my interpreter! How was it possible for me to understand what Obama had to say?!

I decided to let go of my nerves and went with the flow. I waited in line to go through security. Security was almost like security at the airport. It was the first time for me to experience that kind of security outside an airport. Of course, I have been to airports numerous times, but it was my first time to have that kind of experience on my college campus. I was not used to it. I saw the actual Secret Service, and you could feel how serious and strict they were, much different than dealing with county and even state police! You could tell they were not playing around.

When I got in, I took many videos. What amazed me is that it took two hours to make it just right before Obama started. I did not realize how great of seats there were for us deaf people. Right front of Obama. I sat in VIP with the Governor Martin O’Malley and many other important people. So, it started at about 11. Obama was right front of me. I was ready to jump up and walk toward him and shake his hand. Could you imagine how the Secret Service would’ve responded? When I watched Obama give his speech on the stage I thought to myself, “No way, Obama is not standing right in front of me! Wow!”

If you want to know more about what Obama’s speech was about, you can find out online. I was close enough to touch Martin O’Malley on his shoulder but I didn’t want to bother him. I regret I could have done better holding my camera while talking to Obama. The moment I will never forget was when he looked at me. He gave me a chance to talk to him. It was like he was waiting for me to say something. I took the moment and signed “I am proud of you,” and his response was “Thank u” in sign language back! Oh my gosh! I was like wow! He understood me after I said I was proud of him. It was so amazing…I was just speechless. Right after he thanked me, he smiled at another deaf lady who signed “I love you.” When I shook his hand it did not feel like he was superior to me. He was just a humble man. I am just impressed by him and know that he will have my vote and he will win second term without a doubt. Yeah, I feel safe to have him for another term."

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sweeetkiwi 21st-Mar-2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
so sweet
erethesunrises 21st-Mar-2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
Having a deaf mother, this really touches me. It's these little moments that can make the biggest impact. ♥
atomic_joe2 21st-Mar-2012 06:42 pm (UTC)
Barack Obama is pretty damn cool you're right there.
executivehpfan 21st-Mar-2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness, this made my day.

I want to learn ASL so bad.
luminescnece 21st-Mar-2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
It isn't hard really, it just takes someone to practice with. Depending, there are organizations that offer lessons, but I don't know how to get in touch with them.

Start with the alphabet. Friends and I used to sign in class to each other. : P
faeryfroggy 21st-Mar-2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
When Obama does awesome shit like this, it makes me wonder just how the hell people can hate him. WHY DO YOU HATE SOMEONE WHO IS SUCH A GOOD PERSON?
steinsgrrl 22nd-Mar-2012 12:14 am (UTC)
This. I honestly don't get the hate.
crysania4 21st-Mar-2012 06:48 pm (UTC)
This is so seriously awesome.
eponaschild OT, lol22nd-Mar-2012 12:36 am (UTC)
Dahlia!! <3
kitanabychoice 21st-Mar-2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
This is very touching. It's nice to see politicians, specifically our president, being a *person* and not an out of control PR spin machine sometimes.
wrestlingdog 21st-Mar-2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
I completely agree.
aviv_b 21st-Mar-2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
Ok, this just made me cry at my desk. I am such a mush-mouse.
ytterbius 21st-Mar-2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
Choked up momentarily for sure. The little things....
illusivevenstar 21st-Mar-2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
i didn't choke up, nope.
blondebeaker 21st-Mar-2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Awwww! I admit, I got a little teary eyed at that.
hiddenfantasy 21st-Mar-2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
So awesome!

one_hoopy_frood 21st-Mar-2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww. He's such a sweetheart.
teacup_werewolf 21st-Mar-2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
Makes me so happy that I am learning ASL <3
doverz 21st-Mar-2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww!!! So awesome.

Santorum wouldn't do something like this, that's for sure. He'd probably tell the kid to learn how to speak English.
evilgmbethy 21st-Mar-2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
tbh I'm waiting for someone on Fox to claim it's some kind of secret terrorist hand signals
evilgmbethy 21st-Mar-2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
awww, his account of the story is so lovely :')
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