How truly grateful I am to have a forum like this one. If you will give me a minute I’d like to share some things with you.
The growing political rhetoric and hype every four years always clouds our minds across this country. It was in fact, four years ago John Kerry was narrowly defeated and I wrote at the time “In 2008 the democrats are going to come out swinging. I only suggest you remember the name Barack Obama.” So in writing this I hope to find an air of clarity at the last minute.
In 2001 our nation, and my favorite city on earth, watched two buildings crumble. The man responsible is still alive. Two years later our president convinced Congress and the American people that war with Iraq was imminent and necessary. On a cold March night I stood with thousands of people on a sidewalk in Columbus, Ohio where I was going to art school. We held signs and protested the U.S. invasion. That night a drunk man waving an American flag belligerently stormed into the group of protesters screaming that we were traitors. I held up my sign as he stumbled towards me. The man uttered “move or I am going to fucking kill you.” The sidewalk was lined with police officers. I turned to one of them and said “officer this man just threatened my life.” The cop to my dismay grabbed me by my shirt and slammed me against a wall. He told me “move, or I will arrest you for obstructing a public walk way.” The following week our president dismissed the massive protests as simply “special interest groups.”
In the years since we have witnessed our president’s attention rest solely on foreign soil. We Americans have struggled. We’ve risen. We’ve been slammed with hurricanes and left for dead. We’ve fallen. We’ve doubted one another. We’ve witnessed our economy collapse. We have watched thousands of our service men and women be shipped home as corpses after fighting a bloody oil war on a land that did not want them. And we must admit, they fought for a country that has forgot about them. American mainstream media is only concerned with the zingers. The attention has waned. The rhetoric and hype has grown and our minds have clouded.
There is a fierce urgency of now. We the American people are tired. Our planet is getting warmer and our pockets seem to be getting emptier. We have been swindled by the Bush administration and sold out by Wall Street. There is a fierce urgency of now. I have spent my adult years trying to mimic the work ethic of people like my parents. Like so many I have hustled. Amongst many, I have chased the American dream. Like so many it seems there is a barrier to that dream. There is a glass ceiling. But I have hope. I have watched my country quickly sink in the past eight years and I have hope. I have hope because I know that the time is now. Our moment is now.
On Tuesday I will mark the name Barack Obama on a piece of paper at PS 92 in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I will vote in the city of New York. I will be voting for every kid in my city that goes to the emergency room when he is sick because his parents can’t afford healthcare. My vote is for the kids that shop on my block and have to choose between buying a gallon of milk or bread. I will vote for all of us who have cousins and brothers and sisters in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will vote for all of us who protested this botched invasion and occupation of Iraq. My vote is for people like my parents that have worked so hard for a country that has tossed them to the side. My vote is for everyone neglected in the past eight years by the Bush administration. My vote is for Barack Obama.