I know this week’s topics have been political.  I’ve tried previously (for the most part) to avoid political topics, but this election is important to me.  It’s not my intent to isolate anyone with different party-affiliations.  I have a personal interest in Obama because I’ve followed his story from the beginning and to see him running for the country’s highest office is exciting.  It revitalizes a sense of hope within me that someone can change their course and with the right amount of luck and determination, people like you and me can make honest, positive changes in this world.  

I also see Obama’s path as a metaphor for the struggles minorities have faced for generations.  Yesterday, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with people of all different backgrounds; different races, gender, religions coming together with the hope we can re-build this country and make it great again.  In the last few years we’ve seen our markets tumble, our men and women go off to war, our sick denied health care, people drowned and infrastructure fail as our government stood by idly while hurricanes swept our shorelines.  It’s been a turbulent and destructive time in our nation’s history.  A time of tearing down.  A time of reflection.  

Though we live in difficult times, we now have an opportunity to build upon a stronger foundation.  We have an obligation to future generations to learn from our mistakes past and forge ahead with strength renewed.  This is a time when we must ask ourselves, in the words of presdients past, What can we do for our country?  What does it mean to be American?  A Michigander?  An Elk Rapidian?  How can I move foward and help others do the same?  

Obama started out as a community leader.  He helped others see his vision for a brighter future.  And he inspired me as a young person to take an interest in leadership while attending a leadership convention in southern Michigan.  It was then I said, “That man will be president some day.”  And today, I’m proud to cast my vote; a right fought for and won less than a century ago, for the Senator from Illinois, my fellow American, Barack Obama.