Having come of age political under the Bush administration, I must confess that I have grown up with a somewhat cynical view of politics and the world. As much as I would like to blame my cynicism on one administration or series of events, the fact of the matter is that I find new reasons on a regular basis, whether it is a video of starving African children, a powerful documentary about the Arab-Israeli conflict, or most the most pressing of issues for my generation: global warming. Worse than my cynicism was the fact that I found myself using it as an excuse for inaction. Why help volunteer and raise money for that African charity if it won’t do anything to change the society that creates the horrible conditions in that first place? I found myself numbed to the pain of so many others because “that’s just life”. I felt there was nothing I could really do about it. But, over the last few months that has changed. While some have accused me of jumping onto a bandwagon filled with false promises and big words, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has convinced me of one thing: I believe in the power of hope.
Over the last few months, I have suddenly found myself believing in a better world, not that it is here or that it will come easily, but that it is possible. His campaign has not only made me fight to elect him, it has given me a reason to volunteer for other things as well when earlier I would have brushed it off with cynicism and spent the time watching a favorite television program instead. It is not because I believe in Senator Obama as a person that I believe in the power of hope, but because his campaign offers a glimpse of people coming together to try and make the world a better place. I believe in the power of hope because I see that many people who were apathetic (like me) find something to believe in and take action as a result.
I am not talking about hope as the belief that by casting my ballot on November 2nd, things will magically change and become better. Hope is not some ethereal expectation that good things will happened, it’s the belief that with a lot of effort maybe, just maybe you can make the world a better place. It does not make our problems disappear or become any smaller, but it offers the belief that you might be able to solve them if you try. It’s a hope that that makes me think that tomorrow CAN be a better day, and it’s a hope that makes me fight to make that happen. So when I vote for Barack Obama in Pennsylvania’s upcoming primary, it is not because I think that as president he will magically overcome the challenges we all face, it is because he makes me want to be a better person, and that’s the first step towards a better world.
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