I remember that day when I received a text message from my friend Tesfa."Two planes hit the World Trade Towers" it read."Whatever" I thought, only to reach my voice lesson to find my teacher listening to the radio. The horror unfolded. The chaos emitted from the speakers of the small radio. My heart sunk. What the hell was happening?
In the time that followed, Bush's approval rating soared after seeing dismal lows before. The country rallied around broken families and honored heroes, both professional and ordinary people.
How did an event that initially unified our nation end up becoming a tool for fear-mongering? How did our fears turn into hopes only to once again be cultivated into one big surge of paranoia?
The Iraq War is unpopular today, to say the least. We've lost far too many lives and seen far too few gains. But why were we there in the first place?
Osama isn't Iraqi...Saddam wasn't connected to 9/11....There were no weapons of mass destruction.
We entered Iraq for a three letter word: Oil.
However, it's bigger than that. Those who defied the UN were able to declare war due to our fear. Fear that they exploited.
We now live in a time when hope is up against fear.
They say..."How much do we know about Obama?""Is he a Muslim?""Why is his wife such an angry black woman?""Can he protect us from the terrorists?""If a liberal is elected, people will have abortion parties and the gays will have mass marriages.""Can we trust the BROWN MAN?"
The Republican Party has long been a vehicle for fear tactics. It's like a broken record. They play off of the people's fears. Mostly people who are too rich to care about the consequences or those that are poor in rural areas who don't question enough to think about the reality.
Invading Iraq, a nation where we as Americans are largely despised, only breeds more terrorism and Anti-American rhetoric.
Many people that are voting the McCain ticket stress his military record. "HE can keep us safe", they say.Forgive me if I'm wrong, but militarism doesn't equate patriotism. There is a difference between outright xenophobia and true patriotism.
We can't allow fear to dictate who you pull the lever for (I know we don't use levers anymore but bear with me...sheesh). Let's turn the tables.
Can BOTH parties be guilty of politics of fear?
"Don't vote for McCain because he will keep us in Iraq""Don't support Palin because you will be signing away your vagina.""The Republicans don't care about black people.""McCain is four more years of Bush. NO!!"
There are many people who are afraid of not electing Obama, myself included, due to what could happen.Is this any different than those who support McCain? Sure, it's a fact that McCain supported rebel flag flying at one point and repeatedly voted against the MLKIng National and State Holiday. Does this mean he probably doesn't care about black people? Probably.
However, I want it to be about more than that.In the last election, I voted for Kerry not because I was voiting FOR him. It was because I was voting AGAINST Bush.
This time I am voting FOR Obama. His views are parallel to mine. Will he be the sole answer to America's problems? No.Will he be the champion for blacks? NoWill he push an agenda for GLBT rights even though he has friends that would benefit? Probably not.
But he is a man that could bring our nation back to a nation of integrity, honor, and diplomacy. He wll make strides, but he will need our help. He's not here to save us, but to aid us.I'm not voiting out of fear.
I want to vote for change. For hope. For what I believe in.
Let's not let fear overtake us.
"America, surprise us and let a black man guide us." -Nasir "NaS" Jones
P.S. Can we please stop saying that Barack Obama is a descendant of slaves? He isn't. His mother was white and his father was Kenyan. Therefore, it is possible that both sides of his ancestry actually owned slaves at some point.Let him be a man. Not just a black man.
Nevertheless, CHANGE IN '08!!!!!!
"...this time we listened to our hopes instead of our fears...this time we decided to stop doubting and start dreaming".-Michelle Obama, DNC Speech