Emotion is the death of reason
My opinion of President Obama has drastically changed over time.
Just a few short years ago, he was an ignorant, power hungry radical in my eyes. Everything he did was wrong, no matter the circumstance. Also, he hated America.
Then, I stopped listening to the radio and started listening to what he had to say.
While I’m still a Republican and am still at odds with many of his beliefs, I no longer hate our commander-in-chief, nor do I believe in tales of his stupidity and depravity.
I learned that I’m capable of forming my own opinions.
I gained respect for the President after spending many hours listening to him speak on a variety of issues. Some, I wholeheartedly agree with. Others, not so much.
For those issues which with I disagree with him, I appreciate his consistent and clear articulation of the reasoning behind those values.
Regardless, it’s refreshing to disagree without vitriol or negativity. One such speech I appreciated in particular was given recently to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on Sept. 17.
Making his last round of visits and speeches while in office, the President has appeared at many gatherings recently as a sort of farewell tour.
There’s possibly no organization with fonder feelings for the President than the CBC. After all, Obama is the first and only African-American president.
Among chants of “we love you” and “four more years,” the President addressed the gathering with possibly the most important and timely message that we all could hear.
“My name may not be on the ballot,” he said. “But our progress is on the ballot,” he continued. “Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration—that’s on the ballot right now!”
He went on to declare that Hillary Clinton was the only candidate who would act to accomplish all those things, endorsing her candidacy yet again.
An example of one of those things we don’t see eye to eye on.
But his message, the basis of what he was saying—I had never heard anything so true. Whatever it is that you may believe in, whether it be ending mass incarceration or ending abortion, is on the ballot.
If you, as an individual, or we, as a nation, fail to isolate within candidates those issues we truly care about, our beloved country begins to mutate into something unrecognizable and not representative of who we are as a people.
Why? Because we failed to vote.
In the midst of an awfully depressing election season, it’s easy to become discouraged from exercising the right that so many around the world don’t have.
But aside from an overused guilt trip, the most compelling reason for voting comes from an increased understanding of the voting process and what it can offer us as citizens.
Find a candidate who holds your same values. Find a candidate you believe in. Find a candidate you can be proud to vote for, and when you fill in the circle by their name on the ballot, wear your “I voted!” sticker with pride.
Wear it with pride because you didn’t just vote for a candidate who induces your gag reflex less frequently than the alternative, you voted for what you believed in, and in such an act, you have exemplified democracy and freedom of choice in its purest, most unadulterated form.
In such an act, you’ve demonstrated what it means to be an American, ignoring distractions and doing what you’re convinced is right, and when it comes down to it, what more can any of us do?
Please. Go vote.
Jonathan Deemer is a sophomore studying biomedical science.