Friday, October 31, 2008

a letter to the people

Dear America,

Throughout my entire 20s, I have tried to understand this nation and more importantly the people that share it with me. At 19 years old, I was new to New York, had just transferred schools, and did not take the time to register, though I also can't remember if I was even registered in California. I figured New York and California would both go blue, what did it even matter? I went to sleep that night thinking Gore won and woke up to find that Bush was actually the controversial winner of the 2000 election.

A year later I found myself running across lower Manhattan watching the Twin Towers fall into the streets. And two months before I graduated college my country invaded Iraq. Days before the invasion, I remember walking in an anti-war protest that swallowed up New York City. A young girl dressed in a hijab had poured fake blood all over herself and wore a sign that read, "Thank you for liberating me, President Bush." I felt this gripping sense of fear. I knew the world was going to rip apart at the seams.

A couple years later I registered to vote and voted for Kerry at 6am in California. When Kerry lost, I was heartbroken. I was angry and depressed for weeks carrying my emotions on my sleeve, taking out my frustration on every one in sight. And then I caught myself screaming at the tv. I had so much anger and so many complaints and yet I had not made any effort to understand our government, to understand our electoral process and more importantly to understand what is at the root of all the problems I see. Even if I wanted change, I had no understanding of how to do it.

I quit my job and my best friend and I drove around the country interviewing people our age about whether or not they had a voice. Do they think their vote counts? If they could say one thing to America what would it be? We edited it for three years and sent it to several festivals. It was only picked up by Philly Independent, but we still felt we had done something important, even if it was to simply create a dialogue. During those interviews we asked about how they felt about the current leadership of the country. Almost 100 percent were outraged, but years later I wish I had asked them what they wanted in a leader. At the time, a couple people had brought up Barack Obama on their own. He was talked about almost with a slight amount of fear like he was a dream, an unrealistic possibility, and yet... oh the possibilities!!

Now we are here, a few days before one of the most historic elections in history and the emotions are out in the streets, through the millions of wires in the internet, the channels and newspapers all around the world, with what I can't helpt but see as a basic question:

Does America have the courage to embrace change?

Because in the end, the number one undisputed fact is that eight years of Republican rule has completely fucked this country up, not to mention, as well as the global market and the Middle East. We have been lied to, admittedly lied to, we have been robbed, and we have sacraficed sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, big brothers and baby sisters for a war that had no exit plan and whose fundamental purpose was dishonest at best.

Despite Obama's carefully thought out health care plan, his timetable for troop withdrawal in Iraq, his tax cuts that protect the middle class, his passionate pursuit of putting the environment as a top priority for America and not just from a "save the trees" perspective and "beware of global warming," but as a way that makes going green economically beneficial and will create jobs in an ailing economy, despite Obama's more than inspiring but incredibly empowering speeches, his revolutionary campaign and his Kennedy-like temperament, Obama's very name promises this country the chance to free themselves from the shackles of fear, to let the American people feel some light in a country that has been clouded by a deeply rooted racism for centuries, and the opportunity to believe in hope over terror, light over dark, and the power of one's own voice, the true power of a people to make change in their democracy.
America, be bold, be brave, and believe in yourselves.


A fearless citizen

1 comment:

linzer said...

obama baby! yes we can!!!