Friday, November 7, 2008

Nov. 8, 2008 Election Day that Had an Impact In More Ways Than One

In your life, you will experience days that will leave a lasting impression that you will remember for ever. I have had the privilege to have a number of those days. They include the day I graduated from SLCD nearly 21 years ago. When I graduated from Uniondale High School in 2000, when my classmates and myself became the first graduating class of the new millennium. The day that I graduated from Nassau Community College in 2002, which was followed by my graduation from Howard University in 2005 as part of the largest graduating class in the history of the institution. What I had the opportunity to do this past Tuesday was even more remarkable.

On that day, I cast my vote for president to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), who at around 11:02 p.m. was named the 44th President of the United States of America and became this country’s first African American. What made this moment when I cast my ballot at Lawrence Road Middle School early that morning was I had the chance to share this great moment with several of my peers in Desmond Hamilton, Rashaun Church, Kevin and Michael Powell, Gamal Moodie and Sonyere Brown, who I stood behind line along with her parents to cast that vote.

You see for me this moment was special because for us, we were always taught in our days in school, particularly in Grand Avenue Elementary School, where my journey with my peers began is that we could be anything we wanted to be. Through hard work, commitment, dedication and a willingness to believe in ourselves and not what the outside world views of us that it can happen.

A great example of that is the other person who I had a chance to meet up with at LR yesterday. I caught up with my former home room teacher that I had in my 7th grade year in Lawrence Road 13 years ago in Mrs. Silverstein, who now is the Dean at the Middle School.

For me above all else, I voted for Obama was that I wanted to put my stock in history. I wanted to vote for somebody who was qualified and who looked liked me to help guide this country back in the right. I wanted my vote to count. I wanted my vote to be meaningful that goes beyond their skin color.

If you watched his victory speech in Grant Park in Chicago on Tuesday evening, he spoke about the fact that this was not a victory for him. This was a victory for America. This was something that made the African American baby boomer’s dream of seeing someone who embodied what the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and many others before Obama who stood up and wanted to make the United States a place that was equal and where anyone can make a name for themselves.

This is something that really hit home for me in three ways. The first one was when I saw CBS News National Correspondent Byron Pitts show a picture that he said he has kept in his office of African American garbage workers from Memphis, TN in 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. He said of those workers who were holding signs that said, “I am a man,” that they wanted to be respected and treated like men.

The other point that made me really treasure what had just occurred on that Tuesday night is when CBS Chief Washington Correspondent and host of ‘Face The Nation’ Bob Schieffer is when he mentioned that when Lyndon B. Johnson when he passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, that he lost his party in the South for a generation, which in fact did happen. He also said that vice president of that time Hubert Humphrey called the act the single most effective foreign policy achievement of the United States of this generation. What he meant by that is it showed the world how it thought of those that were of different ethnicities and that we should honor that and not see them as a threat, but as an asset.

Now comes the toughest part of this history making process, our country and its new president must deal with the reality of two wars, repairing our economy and restoring the people’s faith in government.

While Obama has broken a very important glass sealing, he must now build a new foundation that will make this country better from where it has been for the past eight years. He has to deal with the fact that Washington will be now ruled by the Democrats and it will be up to him and Vice President Joe Biden to put together a staff that will allow them to make our country better again.

If anything that this election though has taught us is now we all must step up and hold ourselves accountable. Things will not get better unless we as people make it better.

This will be a long, hard and rough road that we are about to travel. It will not turn around over night or even in Obama’s first term. If there is anyone who is ready for this it is him. Let us remember, he beat the powerful Hillary Clinton in the primaries. He defeated “The Maverick” in John McCain. He is ready for this challenge and we need to be ready alongside him.

While he will not be our official leader of the land until he is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009, we must now make our stand and be ready for when he and his family make their way into the address of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW in Washington DC, we are ready to follow them and their hopes and dreams for this country.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What Nov. 4, 2008 Means For The Country And The World

In just 24 hours, every single person in the United States of America will have the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to make history that will have an impact on our country and even the world. A chance to make a bold statement that will have a great impact on the lives of many. We have shown up, stood up and now it is time for us to step up.

On Nov. 4, 2008 beginning at 6 a.m. we will have the chance to elect the first African American to hold the highest office in all the land in Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) or we will elect Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who would be the oldest person to be elected as president as well as Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AL), who would be the first female to be elected as vice president.

The stakes could be any higher. Our country is in the midst of one of the greatest financial crisis to hit us since the great depression. Home after home in America is being foreclosed on. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs. People are having difficulties paying for just the basics like food for the home, gas to put into their cars, being able to make the monthly payments on their bills, draining the 401(k)’s of those that want to retire soon and widening the gap between the wealthy and the middle class. In a nutshell, Americans are hurting and that in tale has hurt companies and businesses across the world.

Tomorrow is the first and most important step that is necessary for us to get back on track. By voting for Obama or McCain, we can put a new leader into the Oval Office that will have our best interest at heart. We will have an individual who will have a strategy in dealing with a war that has made us feel unsafe here at home and has made our enemies abroad even more powerful. We can elect a president who will reorganize Washington and make government better for the people as a whole and not just for themselves. More than anything else, what we have the chance to do tomorrow is to vote in a president that will hold government accountable for its actions.

Our country is in the mess that it is in because the current administration that we have had in office over the past eight years has looked out for themselves and has put the interest of the people to the side of their minds. To President George Bush, it has become more important to bail out banks that gave out mortgages on homes that were out of peoples price range, to ship jobs that manufacture products that we purchase in the U.S. overseas and stretching our military thin in the war in Iraq that we should have known better to start.

Because of this mess, questions have risen about the future of our country we never thought we ask ourselves. Will the children of our country be able to get a solid education that will allow them to rise and be all that they can be? Will they be able to pay for college? Will people be able to have affordable healthcare we they need it most? Can we still have strong relationships with those that neighbor the U.S. to the North, South, East and West?

We began the process by each and every single one us showing up in front of our television sets and watching not just the presidential debates between Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), but taking the time to go out to political rallies and attending local debates. By doing this you have made it clear to the candidates that you do care about the issues and the solutions or lack their of that they have in solving them not all the other mess that goes on in between.

Upon doing that, you have stood up and have your voice be hear if the opportunity presents itself. Meaning that you when the opportunity has presented itself, you asked the candidates questions that concern you and listened closely to see if they are answering the question that you posed with a status quo response or a genuine  response that shows they will make sure they will put their words into actions when you elect them into office.

You have also shown that you stand by that particular candidate by volunteering your services to their campaign by putting up flyers and posters, making phone calls to get the word about that person, the position they are campaigning for and why they should be elected.

With all of that being said, it is now time for the final and crucial step necessary to begin the course of change the United States. That is you taking those very important minutes of your day to step into that voting booth and casting your ballot. When it is all said and done, the fate Obama, McCain does not come down to a question posed in a debate, voters who volunteer and politicians who take their time to get the word out about that particular candidate, it comes down to that person and their vote.

To say the stakes are high would be an understatement. If we do not step up and do something that millions of people fought for us, particularly for African Americans and women to do many years ago, we could be setting ourselves up for a very rough road.

The time has come for all of us to show up at the poles and step up and vote for our next president. On top of that, this is also a day when we as a society need to step up and vote for those at the local level. It is one thing for us to take care of business at the national level, but all other levels of politics are important. The concerns of the people in each town and state cannot be heard without a state senator in Washington fighting for the people. The judiciary system cannot change unless people in each town, county and state vote.

You see ladies and gentlemen, tomorrow is a very important day. A day that can put our country back on course to where we were back in the 90s under the leadership of Bill Clinton when we had a thriving economy, a job market where people were making names for themselves in their work and when we were one America that was respect by all across the globe. That is what is at stake.

Obama and McCain have made their arguments and so have those running for the Senate and at the local level. They have debated head to head, run ads on television, radio. They have been on talk shows and radio shows. It is now up to us as Americans to step up and vote. You have up at least 15 hours tomorrow to make your voice heard in the most important election in the history of the United States of America. Do not miss this chance.