DionRabouin.com (sort of)

My Fellow Americans

Posted in Opinion by dionrabouin on January 10, 2009

Yes, I know it’s long, but take like 15 minutes out of your day since I wrote it just for you:

Here we sit in 2008 with a choice before us. A choice that will forever – and I do mean forever – shape the face of American government and politics. We stand poised on the precipice of the 21st Century and we can choose change or we can continue let fear of uncertainty and that beyond our immediate comprehension govern us for this generation and the next.

The rhetoric of “change” coming from the Obama campaign has gotten so hackneyed and cliché that even I’m sick of hearing it, but that, more than anything else, is what lies before us. Do we want to change the system or are we happy with it the way it is?

Charles Bukowski once said “the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.” For so long and through so many presidential candidates this has been the battle call of the disenfranchised and apathetic electorate. And right now, in this election, all that needs to change.

We have for too long been governed by a de facto aristocracy that has maintained its position by interminably frustrating and eventually disaffecting those intelligent enough to comprehend the hypocrisy of an aristocratic “democracy” and brainwashing those that aren’t into thinking that it’s a good thing for them. We’ve been ruled for so long by a perpetual litany of rich, white men who were the golden sons of other rich, white men that we forgot that wasn’t what this country was about; we forgot that this wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

This country was founded on the necessity of democracy and the understanding that a people being governed must be given a say in who governs them. The United States of America was birthed upon the battle cry of “No Taxation Without Representation.” The colonies of Britain waged a war against the nation many still called home because they understood that a people not intimately involved in the selection of their leaders can never be truly free. The United States of America has always championed itself as a democratic republic, and no nation can call itself a democratic republic if it does not present, at least, the opportunity for leadership on the grandest scale for all its citizenry.

Barack Obama represents change in so many different ways that wrapping our collective American heads around it is difficult, to say the least. He’s a young, black man who is new to Washington politics and tradition and he comes bearing ideas that are radically different than anything a president has ever presented before.

More than just change, Barack Obama represents hope. He is the physical manifestation of the American dream; the dream that says in this country anybody can be anything they want to be if they want it badly enough and they work hard enough to achieve it. He is the embodiment of everything our parents told us when we were little; that no matter who we were or what situation we were born into, we too could be President of the United States of America some day.

In generations past children grew cynical of this promise because the office of president of this great nation has for so long been reserved for the richest, elitist, whitest members of our country. No matter who you are, what color your skin is or how much money your parents made, Barack Obama is the realization of the great American promise that you alone are the keeper of your destiny and nothing beyond your control can keep you from being anything you want to be.

Barack Obama is more than just a man, he’s an ideal. He’s the measuring stick for just how far this country has come and just how far it can still go. His candidacy represents a challenge to the supposed transparent verisimilitude of freedom and justice for all in America. That concept, the one that we all recited daily growing up as we crossed our hands over our hearts and swore our allegiance to our home, is one that so many have touted and so few truly believe in.

Obama is more than just a man, he represents all that this country can be and all that it has failed to be for so many years. A Barack Obama presidency says to our allies and our enemies that in America anything is possible. A Barack Obama presidency declares in no uncertain terms that America is the land of opportunity. America is the place where a man raised by a single mother who needed welfare to put food on her family’s table, who needed scholarships and student loans to graduate from college, who shares a middle name with one of our country’s most notorious enemies, whose last name is strikingly similar to one of the greatest terrorists the world has ever known can be elected to the highest office in the land because he deserves to be and nothing else matters.

Electing Barack Obama is about so much more than Democrats versus Republicans or red states versus blue states. An Obama presidency means that we have collectively overcome the racism that this country was founded on. The United States of America was taken piece by piece under the belief that the white skin of its founders entitled them to everything they wanted. This country was built on the belief that men and women were fair game to be subjugated and treated as less than human simply because of the color of their skin. A Barack Obama presidency is the action that finally gives credence to all the meaningless words and proves that our country has finally accepted the principle on which it was founded: that all men are created equal and that everyone who lives on this soil is entitled to the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We’ve come to expect that our politicians – at the highest level, at least – need to be the smug, affluent, consummate politicians that promise everything and deliver nothing. We’ve accepted that balancing the budget means increasing our national deficit by billions and that improving health care means that fewer people have it and those who do pay more than they did before. The failures of our politicians haven’t been partisan, they’ve been collective. For so many years we’ve sat idly by and watched as our leaders inherited millions while orating false promise after false promise, and we acquiesced and accepted the notion that this was American politics.

We stand poised to take a new direction in American politics where politicians aren’t in the pockets of conglomerates and tycoons. We stand poised to move into a new era where corporations don’t write our legislation and simply watch as the senators, congressman and presidents they’ve remunerated, sign-off on their legislation. I’m not saying Barack Obama is the answer to all the ills of American capitalistic politics, but he’s a step in that direction.

By electing Barack Obama, the American people put every single one of our elected officials on notice that they can be replaced, not by another stooge with more incompetent Washington experience, but by an outsider with revolutionary ideas and radical beliefs. By electing Barack Obama, Americans across this country can say that we have had enough of the current system and that fundamental and systematic change is inevitable.

For so many years we’ve cowered at even the thought of challenging our government. As a phrase that has since been co-opted by a movie goes, “People should not be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

Malcolm X once opined that there has never in the history of man existed a revolution without bloodshed. Here, in the year 2008, we stand on guard, preparing for a revolution that involves no soldiers, no weapons and no bloodshed. We stand in the unique and historically grandiose position of turning our country in a new direction of meritocracy and equality. Or we can continue on the road of nepotism and members-only politics that have defined us for generations. We can change this country for the better and make it everything the framers of the constitution intended it to be.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton once quipped that the pen is mightier than the sword and with one click of our pens we can change life for ourselves and our posterity forever and ever. We can take back this country from the wealthy, the entitled and the dregs of conformity who fight change because they fear uncertainty. We can enfranchise and emblazon every man, woman and child who, for better or worse, calls America home and truly bring to life the words etched into the plaque of the Statue of liberty that state “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” We can reclaim this country from the people who have taken it from all of us and made it their own, armed with nothing but the power our founding fathers gave us, the power to vote. We can change this nation. We can change the future. Yes, we can.

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