I can still remember the election of 1968, even though I was eight years old at the time. I remember seeing crowds of young people on the TV news chanting "Old enough to fight, old enough to vote!" It shocked me to understand that they were talking about an injustice that even a child could see made absolutely no sense. When I was 11, my best friend and I decided we couldn't abide the hypocrisy of reciting the pledge of allegiance each morning, being all too aware of the absence of "liberty and justice for all."
A few years later, I was finally "old enough to vote." In the face of so much persistent racist/classist/sexist injustice, I somehow still imagined that my voice and vote could be counted to help us move toward a higher ground. I wanted to believe that the ideal of equality was a realistic value held by the citizens of my country, and that in my lifetime it was possible to see our entire nation transformed for the better.
With the election of Barack Obama four years ago, I felt a surge of hope that, like for many millions of others, had been too long dormant. It seemed as though we were headed at long last toward exemplifying our own best virtues, the very virtues we were and are attempting to promote around the globe.
Despite my fears in this election, and the disturbing voices who want to drag us backward into oppression and hatred, I am sincerely hopeful that we will give ourselves yet another four years of an Obama presidency. As individual citizens and as a country, we need to be encouraged by broadly intelligent, deeply compassionate, genuinely balanced leadership. We need to keep our gaze on the abundance of facts in support of such hope! Truth matters. Justice matters. The right to vote matters. May we all continue to believe in President Obama's remarkable abilities to keep changing the world for the better.