Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Case for Hope

I first became interested in the life and politics of Barack Obama in 2004 when he gave the now-famous keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. It was one of those rare moments in American politics where you believe that the politician is sincere. I knew, and I think many knew that signaled the beginning of something, of some kind of movement.

I wanted to read his first book, Dreams of My Father, for personal reasons. As a person of mixed race, I seek to inform my own search for identity with the personal experiences of others. But it became much more than that - I was facinated by his life. From living in Indonesia for 4 years, to struggling in high school, to transferring to Columbia for his BA, to ending up in Chicago, to travelling to Africa, to attending Harvard Law School and becoming editor of the law review, I was awe-struck. Plus, I must say, he is a brilliant writer. I know that seeing someone like him be so accomplished has made me believe in myself, and believe in my potential.

It was obvious that he might run for President. As much as people can say he doesn't have experience, running for President isn't something you wait for, the timing might never be better so you have to jump on it when the opportunity is there. Plus, with his state and local governement experience, no one could say that he didn't know the game. The criticism citing the number of 'present' votes he cast highlights that experience.

What I have found remarkable about him is how people have rallied around him. His age, charisma, and overall aura of "coolness" obviously make him a friend of the young. But the way in which political strategists, other Democratic leaders, and lifelong voters in the party have embraced him and his ideas is very inspring for someone as young as me. To see people participate in the process, to pay attention and to care, is great, and I hope that this is something our country can build on.

So, what I'm saying is, if someone like him can do it, can bring this country together, can get people involved in the political process, then who knows that we can accomplish.

No comments: