Barack Obama was elected during my second year of college, and save for his skin color, he had much in common with Bill Clinton: Despite an unstable life with a single mother, aided by two loving grandparents, he had made in his adulthood a family life that seemed to embody my sense of the American ideal.
For two years, I'd lived in Silicon Valley, surrounded by other highly educated transplants with seemingly perfect lives. It's jarring to live in a world where every person feels his life will only get better when you came from a world where many rightfully believe that things have become worse.
On my first day at Yale Law School, there were posters in the hallways announcing an event with Tony Blair, the former British prime minister. I couldn't believe it: Tony Blair was speaking to a room of a few dozen students? If he came to Ohio State, he would have filled an auditorium of a thousand people.
People in my hometown voted for President Reagan - for many, like my grandpa, he was their first Republican - because he promised that tax cuts would bring higher wages and new jobs. It seemed he was right, so we voted for the next Republican promising tax cuts and job creation, George W. Bush. He wasn't right.