On Tuesday, Nov 4th, Americans go to the polls to elect the next President. It is a momentous election because for the first time in American history, a mixed race candidate is on the ballot for President. This past Friday, I stood in line for two hours in the hot, humid sun to cast my early vote for Barack Obama.
And it's not just his ideas and plans and character that earned my support. It's also because for me, he's the epitome of the American dream. A lot of people keep calling him the black or African American candidate. But his mother is white, and he was born in Hawaii and raised by his grandparents into young adulthood.
I admire how he came up from working class roots. His mother was a single parent for a while, and he tells of how when times were rough, his mother had to get food stamps to put food on the table. I like his story of how hard work and dedication took him from poverty to college. He didn't have any connections and riches to get into Harvard; he relied on student loans and scholarships to pay for college. I like that the values of hard work and personal strength turned him into a Senator. Now, he's poised to become the President of the United States of America. It's a testament to the American dream, that if you work hard for it, it can come true.
But it isn't going to be an easy road. I'm not even sure if he will win the election, no matter what the polls say. When I cast my vote for him in that voting booth, I felt my heart beating fast. I was excited because I was actually voting for someone I believed in. I stood there and took a moment to appreciate what I was doing. I was taking part in a momentous, extraordinary event. I was making a historic choice, one that could change the future for the better. But I was also afraid. I was afraid maybe my vote would get lost. I even spent a few minutes just looking at the ballot, making sure that it was his name that I had picked. And when I finally pressed that Cast Vote button, I felt my heart speeding, beating loudly in my ears.
And it wasn't just the fear of my vote getting lost that troubled me. I also worry about Senator Barack Obama's safety. He's all ready had death threats made against him by racists. The American nation has a tragic, troubling history of assassinating great leaders, like President Abraham Lincoln, who ended slavery in America; Dr Martin Luther King, who fought to end racial segregation; and so many others. America is a nation that prides itself on freedom, but our history shows that freedom has not been given equally to all American people. We are a nation that was built on lands taken from the American Indians whom we've annihilated, their few descendants are entrenched in poverty and disease, confined to the poorest wastelands. Our riches and strength were built on the subjugation and enslavement of an entire people for hundreds of years. Do I think race has an effect on the election? Of course I do. There will be people who will discriminate against you because you are of a different race, religion, or belief system.
But there are people who believe in the American dream, that no matter what color or religion or ideology we hold, we are still Americans, human beings above all else. I hope that voters will see past race, and vote for a better change. I hope that more people will get out on Tuesday and vote. Too many people complain about the state of the government, about lengthy campaigns, but not enough people vote. Not enough people take the time to learn about the issues and participate. I can't stand to listen to people who complain about the government when they don't even vote! If you don't vote, then don't complain!
Government only works for the people when the people take part in the government. Voting is our right, and it's how we decide on the best government for us as one nation and one people. We are a nation of many races, many people; and that diversity is what make us uniquely American. In the end, this election is more than just the race for President. It's the opportunity for the American people to transcend themselves and embody the very best of the human race. Can we put aside our prejudices and embrace our similarities along with our differences? I hope so. Can we be a better nation? I believe so. Can we become a better people? I know we can, and perhaps that belief that we can be a better people is what makes this election truly the great race.