Change: Not just a campaign promise

Ellen - Carterville, Illinois
Entered on June 13, 2008

If there’s one thing I have learned from this year’s election process, it has to be that I am in dire need of change. Just exactly what and how I’m changing is a bit unclear. I just know that I need change and I need it NOW. “My change is the change we can believe in”; “her change isn’t really change at all”. The Democratic presidential candidates have begged me to let them change my future and I have to say, I’ve obliged. I’ve gone to their rallies, I’ve scooped up their change posters, and I’ve even donated some of my time and money. But after all of this, with even more to come, how have I myself changed? How has America’s need for change affected me?

Obviously, the history books will be quick to point out that for the first time a woman and an African-American have been vying for their party’s nomination. (Not to mention the fact that said African-American might actually win the presidency.) It’s also worth noting that judging simply by the number of votes cast, America hasn’t been this excited about a presidential primary process—ever. This primary season has put the Commander in Chief’s qualifications on an ever-intensifying microscope. If it’s not your pastor, it’s your wife. If it’s not your wife, it’s your husband. If it’s not your husband, it’s your former pastor’s former wife, who didn’t attend your daughter’s graduation. However, rising to the top of this media stew has been the bane of Campaign ’08: change.

With as much as it’s talked about, I often wonder if I truly understand and believe in change or if I’ve simply been jaded by my favorite candidate’s own definition of it. Me being the naive, almost 20-something, “Gen Y”-er that I am, I don’t think I can fully appreciate change. Technically, I’ve grown up in a world of change. (Need I remind you how big–literally– cell phones, computers, cars, and VHS tapes were in the 1990s?) I’m used to things getting better faster. I’m used to the world growing smaller and globalization getting bigger. Change? Why the big fuss? Not a big deal, happens all the time! I find myself taking change for granted. Everything changes, everything except for me. I will stand here reaping the benefits of change, all the while being extra careful to not become affected by it. I continue to think inside my own box, being content with just the corner. If only there was something that could challenge me. If only there was someone who could inspire me. Enter: change.

In the 18th century, women couldn’t even vote. In the 1960s, African-Americans couldn’t even live peacefully. But in 2008, because of the sacrifices of those who came before them and for the hopes and dreams of the generations that will come after, change has manifested itself in the simple form of two Americans merely seeking change for themselves. Maybe I can’t find change. Maybe change just has to find me.