I believe in us

Joshua - Houston, Texas
Entered on March 2, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

For about the twentieth time today I heard that a certain senator lacked

experience and another had too much. The constant ads on television, radio,

and every other possible medium mean only one thing: election year. As a

young, soon-to-be citizen, it is nothing short of breathtaking to be part of an

event that would impact the next four years of my life.

While I strongly believe in a specific candidate, arguing with someone

about the issues, whether it is the economy or health care, brings as much

enjoyment, if not more, as simply preaching about my beliefs. What worries me,

however, is that too many people seem to base opinion not on facts but

perception. To simply trust what we hear and see on television is pure

ignorance; while I don’t believe it is possible for everyone to experts about

every issue, as a future citizen I believe that it is our responsibility to be,

at the very least, somewhat knowledgeable of the issues at hand, whether it is

simply knowing that we face a recession unlike anything we’ve seen in half a

century, or the fact that more than forty-five million Americans lived without

health insurance last year. I would hate to think that the international view

of American teenagers was even remotely true.

Coming into this country as a young child, I had absolutely no idea how

blessed I was to be a part of nation that not only allowed the freedom of

speech, but also encouraged it. From my earliest memories of school, I can

recall numerous practices that were meant to specifically to cripple creativity

by cultivating an environment of fear. Anyone who showed the slightest sense

of rebelliousness was very harshly disciplined; as a result, I learned the best

way to avoid punishment was to do what I was told without question. So it was

an absolute shock when, during one of my first “American” classes, a classmate

of mine refused to do something the teacher just said merely moments ago. What

was even more astonishing was the fact that he faced absolutely no retribution

for, in my eyes at least, obstinate disobedience. It was experiences such as

these that have molded my perception of freedom; that it is perfectly legal, if

not sometimes necessary to defy authority. After all this country was created

by a group of dissatisfied men who were, in a sense, unwilling to accept

anything less than their perceived rights, the same ones that we enjoy today.

To truly be a part of democracy we must be informed about the issues and

thus be better able to exercise our right to choose. Whether one is liberal or

conservative does not matter nearly as much as whether someone is informed

about or ignorant of the issues.