Man’s Greatest Power

Colton - Cypress, Texas
Entered on November 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in the power of individual choice. Good or bad, choice alone is what makes us as people powerful. The right to choose for ourselves is the most sacred right of all mankind for it allows us to live how we alone choose to do so. The few of us that have this privilege should cherish it above all other luxuries.

This past summer I was forced to read a novel from a “summer reading” list. It just so happened that I chose the book East of Eden by John Steinbeck. At first I was adamantly against reading this six hundred and fifty plus page book so I procrastinated all through summer. In the end I decided that my grades were important so I opened the book expecting to fall asleep within the first five pages. Well contrary to my initial belief, I was intrigued. The story and the numerous characters swallowed me like a whale would a fish. As I was reading I came upon one passage that I won’t soon forget. While having a conversation with Samuel and Adam, Lee says “Don’t you see? … The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin… The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou Shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou Mayest’— that gives a choice…That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’…Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can

choose his course and fight it through and win.” To me this passage epitomized the power that walks hand in hand with our individual choice.

I can’t help but look toward the upcoming election that many promise is sure to be monumental. For good or for bad I know not. However, I do know that our choice as individuals will shape the future of this country. It frightens me that some of us would choose someone who advocates removing yet another choice from our increasingly shrinking list. The right to choose who our doctor may or may not be might sound somewhat trivial however it is a road that leads to removing choice altogether. The right to choose where we want to go to school, the right to choose our profession, and the right to choose our religion are all examples of choices that might not be ours. I hope that it will never come to that.

To remove choice is to remove what is human, and I believe that humanity is mine. At the same time it is your choice, my choice, our choice. I only wish that the power we wield is used to advocate more choices to come in the future and not less. In short: Let us choose to choose.