I Believe in Equal Opportunity
I decided not to stay glued to the television set and watch the 2008 election results. I voted a week earlier and was fatigued by the two year presidential political process. However, my curiosity got the best of me around 10:45 that night and I turned on my TV to see confetti and balloons snowing down on excited, celebrating, tearful crowds. I realized Barack Obama would be our next President and I was overwhelmed and surprised by my emotions. My tears were tears of hope because I believe in equal opportunity to achieve and to serve. I felt in communion with my country for believing the same thing.
I did not vote for Obama because of his idea of “sharing the wealth”. I believe in opportunity to earn your own wealth. I did not develop my social and political beliefs from a platform of privilege but from my own struggle to earn an education and financial freedom from poverty. I grew up in a broken home fractured by addiction and mental illness and my sisters and I were placed in foster care. State taxpayers supported me financially, my foster parents nurtured me and encouraged my education; my high school guidance counselor advocated for me and helped me build a financial aid package to attend college. Even with grants, scholarships, and loans I still worked at fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and baby sitting; I invested in my own future. I believe I was given the opportunity to work for my own success.
When I say I believe in equal opportunity I don’t believe everyone is equal or that all opportunities have to be equal. People have unique abilities, talents, creativity, ambition, intellect, physical abilities and limitations, experience, and work ethics. People’s achievements will not be equal.
I am concerned when wealth is not used to create sustainable solutions. I worry about how the world addressed the hunger in Ethiopia and now a generation does not know how to farm and feed their own people. I am troubled by the false sense of entitlement I see in our own country. I am disheartened when I see greed and wasted opportunities.
Do I believe in offering a helping hand to those in need? Yes, with all my heart; but I believe in creating opportunities so people can reach their own goals. I support social programs that address immediate needs, but I would like to work together to build a bridge that helps people become self-sufficient. Our world will always have those who are unable to care for themselves; but let us build a stronger base of able people who can contribute to helping serve instead of being served. I hope President-Elect Obama plans to spread a wealth of opportunities. I believe we all equally deserve opportunities to achieve and serve. I believe opportunity is our genuine wealth.