May 3, 2012
This is a decisive year in our nation's history. Six months from now, we will decide whether President Obama will remain the "leader of the free world" or whether the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, will take over the reins.
Voter apathy and a general lethargy in the body politic, though, might sabotage this momentous opportunity. With a citizenry disengaged from Washington and fed up with politics as usual - with America equally disconnected from both Republicans and Democrats - voter turnout in November might well be the lowest it's been in years. Instead of casting ballots, America might very well stay home.
But we should not allow ourselves to just sit back and watch in November. We should not allow ourselves to become like the spectators of a sporting event. Sure, politics is sometimes ugly and change is often hard to come by, but this election does matter and we can make a difference.
To me, this election is for Lieutenant Matthew Lynch of the United States Marine Corps: a fellow high school alumnus with a scholarship to Duke University, a fellow swim team captain who rewrote our record book, a fellow American who answered the call to serve and a hero who sacrificed everything for his country. This election is for him - so the best men of this country do not die in vain.
This election is for the forgotten and the ignored. For those "huddled masses" on Main Street and their unending demand for decency and honor. For those fighting to bridge the disparity between the rich and the poor. For the day laborer and his constant struggle for a decent wage and workable conditions. For the union worker in Wisconsin, his rightful demand to negotiate and his constitutional right to speak.
It's for our children and their right to a livable planet. For us and for all. For the blessings of liberty to our posterity. For America. For the world.
In November, we have the opportunity to ensure that food is on the tables of those who carry the burdens of this country on their shoulders. We have the chance to reinvigorate and inspire a country on its knees.
Although many in this country clamor on about the "death of democracy" and the "rise of the corporation" - about the hegemony of Wall Street and the selfishness of big banks - we shouldn't let this pessimism get the best of us. We, as a nation, need to evolve from apathetic objects in an ever-skeptical game of politics to a group of mobilizers and actors, thinkers and lovers of democracy.
This election won't be decided by super PACs, Republican financiers or the moneyed establishment. Not by Washington, "career politicians" or back room deals. Not even by the candidates themselves.
This election, rather, will be decided by the resolve of the American people - in their fidelity to a cause greater than themselves It'll be decided by school teachers, union workers and day laborers. By Latinos, blacks and whites. By the poor, the middle class and the rich alike. It's these men and women who will spell out the future of this country. These men and women will write history with their actions.
This election is the promise of a nation and of a people - it is the resolute principle of democracy, that the ballot shall always prevail over the bullet. It is the principle foundation upon which freedom lies, and when our elections are forgotten, the entire equation of American democracy, of justice and freedom, is negated and crumbles.
We need to remember that America is built on the tenet that all citizens have a voice. In this country, there cannot be a tyranny of the minority or of the majority. Neither the 99 percent nor the one percent is in command. This is, rather, a group effort. We are all in this together. And by casting our votes in this election, we will send the message that the people need to be heard. We will make public our disapproval of corporations and super PACs running our elections. We will send forth our distaste for special interests and bankrollers. We will confirm the notion that the people cannot and must not be ignored.
It is our America that will live up to the ideals that President Obama outlined on that frigid January morning back in 2009. Our America will fulfill the price and the promise concomitant with our history. In our America, as President Obama said in 2009, there will always be the "knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny."
For Matt Lynch, the forgotten, the hungry and the ignored, let's get out the vote in November. And with the close of this semester, let's take some time this summer to shape history with our own hands. Whenever you have a chance, play your part in this election. Pick up the telephone, get on Twitter, knock on doors, tell your friends and organize. Join a local political group, read up on the news and hold the candidates accountable. Take a stand against apathy and indifference - against lethargy and malaise. Let your voice be the clarion call to action.
And in November, let's be the shapers of an "uncertain destiny." Let's be the movers and the shakers of this great country called America. Let's work together, as one nation at the ballot box, to choose the path for our future. Let's steer America. Let's be the captains of her fate.