July 1, 2007

Politics & Social Issues

Reflections on Change

by Paige Gray

Change, even the possibility of change, motivates us. It touches the most basic, human part of us—man or woman, black, white, Republican or Democrat—all of us.

That is why on a bitterly cold Saturday morning thousands of Americans stood and waited for hours. They waited, despite frozen toes and numb fingers. They waited to hear the possibility of change for America.

The political landscape of our country has left citizens angry and apathetic. Even as a young, educated graduate student, the past years have made me feel powerless in a country where the people supposedly hold the power.

But for the first time ever in my life, I experienced an overwhelming sense of patriotism that frigid morning in Springfield, Illinois. I experienced the sensation of approaching change in watching the faces of the crowd and in the words of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington,” Obama told the audience and the many cameras focused on him. “But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

The excitement and enchantment that surrounded that morning remains indescribable: a rush of adrenaline mixed with chills and tears. I could not believe my eyes welled up. But, then again, I was beginning to believe in the possibility of change.

As a journalist, I am required to remain unbiased, fair and equal to all sides. This is not a promotional spot for Obama. This is advocacy for change, and to be a part of that change. Amidst the masses, I could finally understand the language upon which this country is based.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."

The United States thrives as a nation because of the fundamental right we have to proclaim our beliefs, to express our ideas and to rally together when change becomes necessary. The current divided political climate—with deep chasms between the political left and right, the red and blue states, Democrat and Republican—is evidence of a crucial revolution that must take place. Barack Obama represents just one path for possible change. And isn’t that the truly great thing? There is more than one path to change, and we have a choice.

Whether you support Senator Obama or not, this is a time for Americans to celebrate the many fresh and veteran faces offering themselves for consideration as President. This year, little girls and children of color (other than Caucasian) can truly believe they might grow up to be President. People seem to care again, something obvious in the crowd that gathered that morning at the Old State Capitol building in Springfield. And, as history has proven, when people care enough, anything is possible.

Let’s hope for more paths, more choices and more excitement on the road to the 2008 presidential election.

Paige Gray is a freelance writer currently working towards her Master’s degree in journalism at Columbia College, Chicago. She holds a BA in English from Indiana University. In her free time, she enjoys studying the deeper philosophical meanings of Lost, indulging in the many nuances of pop culture, and discovering interesting bookstores and antique shops. She can be reached via email.