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Cast your vote, make a difference
Posted Sept. 12, 2008
Erin Konrad
Editor in Chief

In my lifetime, there has never been a more exciting period in political history than the one right now.

For the first time ever, an African American candidate is in the running to be President of the United States. Last week, Republican nominee John McCain named his running mate—a qualified and well-respected woman.

The role of political players has normally belonged to rich, white males.While there have been important and significant minorities represented in the government, they have always been relegated to the sidelines.

For the first time in my life, I see the mold being broken.

The candidates running for the most crucial office in our country have not all grown up with money and resources. Two actually represent the struggle experienced by so many—not everyone in America has access to an equal education, health care or a decent job.

Perhaps for the first time in decades, the United States is ready to accept that not all of our citizens can simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Indeed, as Barack Obama noted, some people don’t even have boots.

I watched the Democratic National Convention a few weeks ago with a renewed sense of hope and duty.

I was awed by the speeches. Michelle Obama displayed the grace necessary for the role of First Lady.

Joe Biden showed a charismatic and dedicated personality, and Barack Obama spoke with a confident humor and passion that most politicians don’t possess.

I was most affected by the people in the audience at the convention. These people were so moved by the rhetoric being spoken that they had tears streaming down their faces.

It was watching these “ordinary” people get so emotional that struck a chord with me.

It reminded me that I have a chance to make a difference along with others with the ability to cast my vote.

I was hurt last semester when a professor on this campus wrote a letter to the paper saying that a column I wrote about my dislike of jury service was a sign that I was ignorant of history and uncaring.

I have been a dutiful citizen—following elections and local news and voting in every election (and I’ve never once been arrested).

Although I’ve still been holding a grudge about this critique, I realized that my true love of history and hope for this country were not displayed when I sat in a courtroom, passing hours as I waited for my number to be called.

Instead, it becomes visible every time I step into that voting booth and pull the curtain behind me.

This election represents the possibilities for change.

We don’t necessarily have to be in a war where our soldiers are being killed. We don’t have to shell out $4 for a gallon of gas, or go without doctors’ visits because we can’t afford them. It is possible to hope for a better future…for everyone.

I believe that America can renew its promise of equality and its fulfillment of dreams. All it takes is the commitment to get out there and vote. I don’t care if you vote for McCain or Obama—just vote.

Because it is up to every one of us to make an impact.

We all have the ability to speak our minds in this country, and it’s certainly time that the youth in America make their voices heard.

Our country can prosper and flourish, even in times of strife.

We have the ability to make a better tomorrow for everyone, no matter their race, economic status or gender. In the words of Obama: “Yes, we can.”

Erin Konrad, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at erin.konrad@laverne.edu.