The March to Election 2008

September 19, 2009
By Emma Chasen SILVER, Babylon, New York
Emma Chasen SILVER, Babylon, New York
5 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Thursday. September 25, 2008. 9 PM. It is the night of the one and only vice presidential debate. Where am I? Not sitting down on the couch in front of the TV ready to watch the debate of future leaders, oh no, I am at marching band. I march in my neat, little box of people, where I have to be in exactly the right spot, silent, making no other sound except for the music that I am forced to memorize. We are supposed to be out by nine o’clock, but since the marching band is on a quest for perfection, we have to stay and do the formation a thousand times over. I am here because I am required to be. What is the purpose of this? The vice president is second in command. He/she makes crucial decisions with the president; he/she could even take over and lead the country! Don’t you think I should be hearing what these people have to say? They are going to be leading me, us, into the future. What am I doing at marching band missing this? As I march, I think about running off the field and yelling to everyone that we have to watch our futures unravel before us. We have to mess up the lines and watch this debate! But I keep playing for the sake of my band. I stand there and march in my box with the other musicians forming pictures we could not make alone. Yes, there is power in coming together and working as a whole, but not tonight. It is hard to be a nonconformist while marching in synchronization with other people to form pictures that move to the music of Earth, Wind and Fire. I feel miserable, but I don’t say anything. I stand there and wait to be dismissed.

As I get into the car, I am frustrated and tired and all I want to do is go home and watch the debate. It is already 9:40 PM and I missed a good chunk of information. I am annoyed, but the debate is on the car radio, so I don’t voice my complaints. I settle down to listen to Sarah Palin answer a question about something to do with the economy. She is talking herself in circles and just keeps saying “maverick”, so I ask my mom what I missed. She informs me that the responses have been contrived and a little too folksy. I don’t like that I missed the beginning. I missed the opening statements and that could matter someday in my life. Marching band would never matter as much as that something would.

I race into the house just as the candidates are discussing same-sex marriage. I am excited to hear their responses over such a hot topic, but both of them give a generic run-of-the-mill response. They lack passion and fire as they respond to the question and each question after that. I thought they would address each other: actually look each other in the eye and challenge their opposing candidate. But No. Sarah Palin doesn’t even answer the question asked; she gives rehearsed responses and adds in her own cute little remarks like “Joe-six-pack”. Joe Biden answers the questions, but he doesn’t challenge her or any of her phony remarks. When the debate is over I can’t believe it. I am left feeling disappointed and confused. Is this really what debate has come to? Everybody dances around the real issues; marches in their own little safe box so as to not offend anybody. What happened since the founding of this country? We are so obsessed with patriotism and nationalism, but do we even know what that means anymore? The founding fathers developed this country and its government through fierce debate and communication. They argued things out and were inspiring with their fiery remarks and passionate defense for what they thought was right. This was the beginning of the great democratic process. Where had that all gone? Who put a ban on the great verbal march to political freedom?

Tuesday. October 7, 2008. 9pm. The presidential debate: the time for the real issues to come out: the truth. Once again I am not at home preparing myself for the discussion between two candidates. I am at marching band where talented jazz and classical musicians are playing rehearsed pieces with scripted choreography. This is not where we are supposed to be. We are supposed to be marching to the beat of our own drum. What if everyone here had the freedom to dance and play our marching band song in their own way? Sure at first it would look chaotic, but upon further inspection one would see freedom. The freedom of movement and joy, the freedom to decide where we would fit in the world; not where we are placed or told to stand, not what a card or another person tells us to be or look like. Marching band is all about synchronized movement but these current times call for something more. Unfortunately, the field that our generation is currently playing on is wrought with economic turmoil, global distress, and environmental destruction. We need to break out of our denial and march to the beat of a different drummer.

As I watch the debate, the candidates again are totally rehearsed. John McCain tries to follow the stage choreography, but he ends up looking confused and out of sync. I think about how much more authentic he was before his campaign advisers tried to turn him into a winner. There is no spontaneity in this debate. There is no fire, passion, or life to their arguments, just repetitive talking points. And then it hits me. I realize with disbelief that I am watching marching band minus the music. I might as well have been at marching band. The candidates are so concerned with portraying a perfect vision to the American people they can’t say what they’re really thinking; they can’t deal with the real issues. They present a perfect formation to win our votes. I have had enough with our leaders marching around the real issues. I am done with marching in line and pretending that everything will be ok in our world if we just follow along and play the music we are given. It is time to think out of the box and demand that our leaders use the instrument of their word to inspire a new beat for our country.
I know I’ve marched in step for the last three years, but I hold onto my fantasy that one day I will take my saxophone and inspire a Dance Dance Revolution.

The author's comments:
I know that the 2008 presidential election is not a current event anymore, but I still feel that the metaphor is relevant. Everyone, especially teenagers, should feel liberated to dance wildly for the future.

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This article has 1 comment.

my dream said...
on Jun. 10 2011 at 2:02 pm

i have a dream that in my wonder and people should be happy,honest and helpful. thank u



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