Our Future As One

Kristen - La Grange Park, Illinois
Entered on January 17, 2009

A new year does not always bring a fresh start. A lot of the time, it picks up right where it left off. For the past few years, that has been a good thing, but for the case of 2009, the world hoped otherwise. The stock market is down, the unemployment rate has risen to seven percent, houses are left half-built, banks and businesses are going under, wars are being waged across the globe, and so on. It seems that whenever one thinks of these tough times, he turns to President Bush with hatred brewing in his heart. It is easy to blame the world’s troubles on a single man, but perhaps instead of waiting for someone to do something, we should take action ourselves. On November 4th, 2008, we did just that. Out of desperation for a new world leader, American’s decided to look past the color of a man’s skin. We threw away our prejudices to nominate a leader who we have hope in, and who has hope in us. That is why I believe in Barack Obama.

It was a tragic day when the stock market dropped over seven hundred points in 2008. A featured picture that resembles how stockbrokers felt at the time has a man with his back to the camera, clutching his hair in frustration while surveying an unusually timid scene before him. When a trading facility is quiet, one knows there is something terribly wrong. Soon following the drop, Wall Street began to crumble. Major banks and businesses started going under and the loaning system fell before us. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not improved since the coup on Saddam Hussein. It all happened so fast, it is as if the reality of it has not sunken in yet. Americans look up to the executive branch in fury, blaming President Bush, apparently our worst yet, for the slow build-up to this point. Then, he came. His name is Barack Obama, one of Illinois’ senators, and the only African American one, too. He told the world to have hope. His historic triumph and acceptance speech told the world that we do have a chance.

At first, it seemed the United States was not ready for such a diverse group of people all racing for the oval office in such hard times. Some of the candidates included a Mormon, a Vietnam War veteran, a woman, a comedian, and, of course, and African American. Obviously, a predominantly Christian and Protestant country was not going to accept a Mormon, named Mitt Romney, and according to a national poll, that’s exactly why he lost in the Republican Party. One third of voters openly admitted that his religion caused them to vote for a different candidate. As a result, the severely aged Republican candidate John McCain came out on top for his Party. The Independently running comedian, Stephen Colbert, joined the race, but dropped out sooner than later. The race was a bit more intense for the Democrats, though. The woman, Hillary Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, was up against a male African American, our Barack Obama. Almost all states were fifty-fifty with this duo, but no matter which one won for the Democrats, it would be one of the most remarkable times in history for that party. After months of torturously close primaries and caucuses, Obama finally made his way to the top, where his real struggle was just about to begin.

For the most part, the South is conservative Republican, and very religious. They are mostly pro-life and support the wars currently going on. John McCain fit this stereotype, and he even said himself he thinks we are doing well in the Middle East and supports this war on the revenge of September 11th. For the loss of two thousand lives, twice as many were taken. It is time for a change, and that is exactly what Obama stands for. Change. His logo and his motto, he promised to do whatever he can within his restricted executive powers. The mostly liberal Democratic Party instantly embraced him and all he stood for. They were done with trying to fix broken countries militarily, which is not a logical approach. Democrats from coast to coast participated in one of our country’s most historic presidential elections, attracting numerous times as many people as 2004’s. This meant that America had motivation and enthusiasm. It was time. Citizens lined up at village halls and school and casted their ballots. They stayed up late to watch the numbers rise for each candidate as electoral votes were counted. It was like a modern era resemblance to the 1969 landing on the moon. Except instead of “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” it is “If there is still anyone out there who still doubts, tonight is your answer.” Then, after awaited anticipation, Obama prevailed. Cheers rang across the country and a smile spread across my face, similar to the one on our president-elect’s face. It was a smile of hope.

So now I anticipate Barack Obama’s speech. I wait to hear him speak of change in a time of trouble. I need to hear him say he will to everything in his power to get us out of this recession. He can and I know he will. He is different. He is willing to speak to leaders before he jumps to conclusions and declares war. He has a perfect balance of pathos and logos, emotion and logic. I know we will take us far with those qualities, and I look up to him because of them. So now I pray that when Americans are in times of trouble, they will look up to their president not in hatred, but in hope.