Sunday, February 3, 2008

Yes We Can

I was born in the last months of the Carter administration. Reagan was elected when I was six months old. I was eight when Bush won the White House over Dukakis -- I still remember the election-night party my parents threw, a group of grown-ups crowded around our TV, the anxiety palpable. In '92 I was twelve. My mom had a crush on Bill Clinton, and when he won there was celebration in our house like I had never seen. I've never seen it since. I cast my first vote for Al Gore, on an absentee ballot sent from college in Connecticut (we all know how that turned out). Four years later I tried hard to get excited about Kerry. I braved the crush of voters in my former elementary school and proudly pulled the voting box lever for the first time. Early exit polls fostered hope, but later that night they were dashed, and we wondered how we could have ended up with such a bland and uninspiring candidate -- his wife, the sassy Heinz ketchup widow, would have made a better one.

I'm twenty seven years old, and I have yet to believe that my vote makes a difference. But back in 2004, when I watched a young senate candidate from Illinois make the keynote speech at the DNC, I was deeply moved. I felt, for the first time, that I was watching a true leader, someone who belonged not on the Cspan ticker or Total Request Live, but on the newsreels in the Library of Congress, alongside FDR, Dr. King, and JFK. That night gave me hope, and I have hope still. I hope that when I cast my vote on Tuesday I will make a change. I hope that come November, history is made. I hope that whoever takes the oath of office takes this country in a new direction. I hope that no one loses hope that change is possible.

Whether or not you support Obama, I hope you all vote on Tuesday. And no matter who you support, I hope you watch the video below. It gave me chills. It made me realize how much I miss what I've never had -- the chance to be a part of a great movement in American history. I hope this is my time.


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