As Senator Obama now has the Democratic nomination and is looking for a running mate as he looks for unity within the party, I reflect upon how far he, and we, the country, have come in the past few months. As much as I dislike dwelling on the topic of race, it is, to me, an amazing feat that he has accomplished. A black man, poised to become President. Young, inexperienced, without a history of military service, with a last name associated with Arab Muslims – and yet so widely popular one has to stand back in awe. Maybe you don’t agree with his policies, but you still feel his passion when he speaks. And the message is as inspiring as his oratory: Change. Unity. Coming together to overcome all odds. A country with a Future of which every true American can be proud. He embodies the American Dream, and America loves him. Those of my generation, perhaps the most skeptical of this “American Dream”, rally to him.
To the generation that barely remembers The Clinton Years, and came into political awareness during this current abusive Administration, Obama is a promise of hope that politics need not be so unpalatable. He is our Kennedy, our Marcus Aurelius, and our Philosopher King. His command of language is novel to us who can only remember speeches peppered with terrible grammar and patchwork words that grated away at our sense of national pride. How could we lead the free world when our own leader was a source of shame?
We were children still when the Administration claimed there were weapons of mass destruction, and we believed, readily. In the next few years, we grew up, and learned of a life outside our privileged existence, as all in their teen years do, and we became disillusioned, seeing the world as it was for the first time. As I said, this happens to everyone during these years of their life, but when we saw the world as it truly was for the first time, what did we see? We saw a world in shambles. We saw our leader, whom we trusted explicitly, disliked and held in contempt. We saw the UN declare that there never had been weapons of mass destruction, that there never had been a reason for the war. We saw men – our older brothers, fathers, uncles, cousins – and a few women – sisters, mothers, aunts, more cousins – dying for a cause the rest of the world no longer believed in. We came of age at a time when it would have been best not to see the world without filter. I remember as I type these words and tears form in my eyes. Tears of anger, tears of anguish. A few of us tried to get involved then, believing still that we could somehow make a difference, make this right. We believed with the certainty of youth that we could not be ignored. That, too, was ripped from us. We were too young to vote, and George Bush was reelected. We told ourselves that we wouldn’t have let it happen. If we had been older, he never would have been reelected. But part of us wondered: was Kerry really any better? His anti-status quo campaign had told us little. We wondered also: were there enough of us? Could we really have made a difference? And even more sinister, we wondered: and what of the electoral college? The recounts we just barely recalled took on the macabre quality of a horror film, viewed once in childhood and followed by months of nightmares.
Now, we have a vote, a voice, and a candidate. The idealism that still clings to us, like a vine to an alley wall, has finally seen the light. The neighboring building, long in deterioration, is being torn down, making way for a better way of life. This we hope, and for some of us, this we pray.
President Bush, the best thing I can say about your Presidency is that it created in many of us a passion for politics that will be lasting. We want to right what you have wronged, and we will, if we don’t lose our way.
Senator Obama, you have captured the hopes and dreams of an entire generation. We’ll be there for you in the fall. If you win, you will renew our hope. Please don’t let us down.
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2 years ago