Gaining Hope and Understanding through the Political Process

Olivia - Tallahassee, Florida
Entered on February 6, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: citizenship
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In July 2004 I heard a state senator from Illinois address the Democratic National Convention during the Presidential campaign between John Kerry and George Bush, the speech stirred me. I found it to be thought provoking and well delivered. I hadn’t given much thought on which individual would be the next President. In fact, political participation was not on my list of things to do. I also found myself somewhat ignorant about the political process. It seemed complicated. Politics bored me, even though I minored in Political Science during College, my interest in the topic had waned dramatically. Life consumed me and it didn’t appear as though the government had any interest in throwing a life line out to me.

I had knowledge of a few key political terms. For instance, I knew what a party convention was. I was aware of the terms liberals and conservatives. However, I did not know what it took for a President to win an election until the election of President Barack Obama. The excitement created by his campaign was contagious. It encouraged me to engage in the political process. I found that it was not only an individual stirring, but a collective one as well. The American people were empowered to practice the principles on which this country was founded. We were challenged to demonstrate how a Democracy works. In so doing I found myself and others being re educated on the political process and becoming actively involved.

Although, I had become apathetic to politics my life mirrored the myriad issues facing this country. I was caring for an ailing parent, wanting to ensure my own healthcare, dreaming of being my own boss, but unable to turn that dream into a reality. Yet, the words of Barak Obama’s speech inspired me. He stated that, “I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper—that makes this country work.” “It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together a single American family.”

The words resounded in my heart and remained there. As the time approached for another President to be elected my interest in the political process was rekindled. One afternoon while watching the Tyra Banks show, I was moved by, her guest Illinois State Senator Barak Obama, he was discussing his political platform along with his book, The Audacity of Hope.” Immediately I purchased the book perused its pages. The eloquent speaker with a calm demeanor had my attention and my support.

The energy generated from the campaign trickled into my life I felt like I had ownership. Once the campaigning was over and the rally cry had been answered, a spirit of unity began to spring forth. Yes, the answer to a question that President Obama had posed became clear. He asked do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? American citizens answered a politics of hope. A duo with Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, entitled When you believe, says though hope is frail it is hard to kill. Yes, as the movie title indicates Hope Floats. The election allowed for dialogue. We were talking about important issues facing us as a nation and we did so in a manner that was reflective of what this country was founded on.

Yes, government can have critical programs and policies in place that can aid in making life prosperous for us all. The government can hold true to the constitution which states every individual has the right to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Yes we can agree to disagree. And yes, my one vote counts!!!!