Preview: I had trouble sleeping last night. It seems that we are being thrown under the bus. How could they do this? How could they drop the public option?
I have heard many stories from my parents and friends' parents. They always told me stories about how they fought for civil rights and against war. They would say that no matter how much they fought, it seemed like the politicians were always self interested: that they had no other motives outside of self promotion. This is the generation who lived through the Civil Rights Era; Vietnam War; assassinations of MLK, JFK, and RFK; the Iran Hostage crisis; the Reagan assent and neo-conservative birth; the Gulf War; NAFTA; DOMA & DADT. Pictures like those of Kent State protests remind us that this generation fought hard, and while gaining many wins, did not gain everything they hoped for. This generation became disillusioned, disheartened, and cynical.
I am eighteen years old. I worked on Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio. For most of my life, I have never really suffered like many of my fellow Americans have and are still; however, in 2008, I still felt an urge to get involved. I wanted to help change the world. Repair an ailing economy, a disintegrating global American image, and a disappearing middle class. I knew that this was the opportunity of a lifetime and an unprecedented moment in American image.
I wasn't alone. My generation was with me. Recent high school grads, college/university students - we were all in this together.
I skipped my first year of college to help on his campaign. I thought:
"Sure, this is a risk. But the risk of not helping is even greater."
Fast forward to November 4, 2008.
I had not slept but two hours since November 2. I was exhausted. The day was long - full of scare tactics and voter suppression techniques against my heavy African American districts. I dealt with faulty voter machines. I drank maybe a hundred cups of coffee and paced my office 500 times (a bit hyperbolic - but, still, you get the point). It was all worth it when Wolf Blitzer's monotone voice reported that CNN Projected that Barack Obama would be the 44th President of the United States of America. Finally, it seemed, change was coming to America.
Fast forward to August 18, 2009.
I had trouble sleeping last night. It seems that we are being thrown under the bus. How could they do this? How could they drop the public option?
My mother is so worried about rising premiums. She tells me that we have to be ready for anything because even though she is shelling out more than $20 K a year for our family, we could still be bankrupted if something catastrophic happens. Enough for me and my siblings to have to drop out of college.
Mr. President: You inspired me and the rest of my generation. You gave new hope to my parents and their cynical generation. I worked my butt off for you. I had dreams of becoming president someday so I could change the world as I foresaw you doing. I will not give up the fight; though, I can't help but feeling sad on this day. Though the efforts of my generation getting you elected may pale in comparison to the efforts during the 1960s, I can't help but finally relating to my parents. This is what it feels like to be cynical.
Please don't negotiate on the public option.