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Hope

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ?If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired millions of people of every feather and form to pursue their dreams no matter how unattainable they may seem. For decades, Dr. King?s message has remained a steadfast symbol of hope to all of those whose dream may seem improbable. History has shown us that in every generation comes a pivotal point in our world?s history, a point in which change is necessary. History has also shown us that with every change comes a leader; a person who defies all odds to provide a people with a sense of dignity and hope. Each generation has had its time to speak and its own orator who has preached their peoples words, therefore altering the fabric of our social and political system. Whether it be Lincoln or Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt or Nelson Mandela they all have provided the international community with the foundation for the pursuit of happiness in every sense of the word. Our generation has had its time to speak and has spoken, thereby choosing our orator to be Barack Hussein Obama.

Barack Obama began his campaign for the presidency of the United States of America on the basis of hope and change. Though Obama wasn?t favored by the critics, he gained popularity throughout the country. With his simple message of hope and change, Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States of America; thus, forever changing the dynamics of the political and social system in our country today. This year I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C and attend the inaugural festivities. Though it is a clich餠aphorism, this experience has forever changed my life and has inspired me to achieve all of dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. The election of Barack Obama has been a journey for us all. Looking back mine was a somewhat emotional and tumultuous one. What started with intrigue went to respect and soon turned into obsession. Days before I arrived in Washington D.C, I was sent into reverie about the long two years that had resulted in the election of change.

I was first introduced to Barack Obama as most people had, through CNN. Obama seemed to be enough of an amiable person, but he being elected seemed unlikely to me, so I left it at that. Months passed and Obama won the Iowa caucus, though excitement was stirred I still felt as though he was an improbable candidate next to people like Hilary Clinton who has years of experience in the senate and foreign relations. While online I came across Will.I.Am?s Yes We Can video, and to say it simply, I was inspired. It wasn?t before long until I found myself quoting Obama?s Yes We Can speech and watching CNN while doing my homework to keep up with the campaign. Every morning while driving me to school my father and I would listen to NPR and were soon having heated debates about even the most trivial parts of the campaign. In February of 2008, I was invited to attend an Obama rally at the Hartford XL Civic Center with Jojo and Bill Mahoney. Upon arriving in Hartford we were astonished to see almost 50,000 people in lines that wrapped the blocks around the building four times. It was then that I realized this was more than a campaign, it was a phenomenon. We made it into the center and while listening to Obama?s words I was convinced that Obama was our country?s savior and that I was a part of the making of history. As they do, the months passed, but my passion for change never faltered. School ended and the summer began, and as quickly as it came it went. Another school year commenced and rivalries began. I found myself asking everyone whether they were for Obama or for McCain, starting a debate with whoever favored McCain. I soon acquired the reputation of defending everything Obama did and it got to a point where no one could tell me differently. September and October went in this fashion, and when November 4th came I was ready, ready for the decision of the American people. That night my sister, mother, father and I watched CNN at an election party, holding hands with people I didn?t even know. We had sat through the first twenty-five states and Obama held a comfortable lead; winning West Virginia and Indiana, two traditionally red states. But when Obama won California and the election, time stopped and a wave emotion swept the room. Minutes later I found myself bawling in my mother?s shoulders. My hope in the American dream was restored again.

Months later I am on my way to Washington D.C, staring out the window of the train, which presently sends me into a much needed slumber. Walking out of Union Station, the feeling in Washington was indescribable. People of all walks of life had conglomerated together in a city not meant for more than one million people just to witness the inauguration of a man who only had faith in the American people. Throughout my stay in Washington D.C, I met some of the most genuine people I have ever met. It was as if the weight of the moment put a halt to the turmoil and cruelty that was happening on the outside world. During the Inaugural Concert almost a million people had lined up and down the mall to watch people to perform and to hear Obama speak himself. On the day of the inauguration there was a sense of quiet excitement in the air. Thousands upon thousands of people clogged the streets of Washington D.C just to get a glimpse of President and Michelle Obama. All throughout the day people performed small acts of kindness representing the reason why we were at this fundamental point in our nation?s history. In one instance, a woman had lost her child and strangers spent their day looking for this little boy, which to me is the epitome of the meaning of hope.

Words cannot describe the feeling millions of people shared in Washington D.C that weekend. To me most of it came from the realization that it actually happened. America, the country where black people were once counted as 3/5 of a person in the same document that called for ?independence?, deemed that ?all men were created equal?, and that all men deserved ?unalienable rights?, had elected its first black president. Me, being a person of color can relate to this whole heartedly. For most of my educational career I have felt that the playing field for me has been harder than that of white kids. This may be true, but so is reality in the American dream; the dogma that says that we should do better than the generation before us and so on and so forth. Barack Obama is the personification of the reality of the American dream and through the plights of generations before him, Barack Obama was elected to the highest office in the land. The feeling of hope once brought an oppressed people to its feet to rebel against a tyrannical government. The feeling of hope once helped a people overcome hate and injustice to finally reach the mountain top. The feeling of hope helped a generation chose change over fear and through my experiences with hope and the experiences of those around me, I can safely say that I am proud to be an American.



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