The following piece was written as a "dissent" to a pitch by a classroom editorial board in Professor Nick Clooney's Opinion Writing class at American University in the Fall of 2008:
Let’s face it – America has a lot of problems right now. Families are stressed by finances, individuals are scared about what outcome we’ll reach on Election Day, and the only thing anyone can agree upon is the fact that America is a lot like a confused teenager.
I agree with fellow editorial board member, Dory Samuels, that we need to get the economy back under control – bank regulation and restoring accountability on Wall Street are guaranteed weights on the new president’s shoulders. But it’s important to note that the problems facing the economy could have been avoided. Now we have to fix them. But I don’t think that the economy is necessarily the number one problem to fix on the new president’s list. We need to unify our country first.
We can all agree that one of the greatest freedoms our country enables us with is the ability to vote. Democracy has worked for over 200 years in America. It’s been reliable even in times of doubt and fear. We’ve gotten through two World Wars, The Great Depression, assassinations, the atomic bomb, September 11th, and many more historically notable experiences. But now, we’re at a point where Americans have unknowingly taken sides. We’ve become far too extreme in our vantage points. Bi-partisanship has been lost.
"This presidential cycle would not be possible without the sacrifices and the courage of those people on the bridge," said Selma, a resident of Malika Sanders-Fortier, to the Daily Monitor in reference to Obama. "This is the time to put our right to vote to the test. To pick a side isn’t the answer in this year’s election. It’s picking who’s right for our country.
I realize that in order for Democracy to work, more than one side needs to be represented and heard. However, our nation is so divided when it comes to the political spectrum that all hope for compromise is gone. It’s either black or white, red or blue,never any shade of gray anymore. Moderation is the key to getting America back on track. We need to empower our nation’s citizens to become a united force once again.
Our country is a joke around the world. A survey written by the Pew Global Attitudes Project center in the spring of 2006 and conducted in 15 nations, found that global perceptions of the United States continue to worsen. The percentages said that the British favorability of Americans fell from 56 percent to 83 percent in 2000 and, even the brief era of good feeling in 2005 that stemmed from the U.S.-led Asian tsunami relief effort seems to have faded in countries such as India and Indonesia. That isn’t good.
Don’t forget, we were named the United States for a reason. Let’s unite on Election Day to the best of our abilities. Let’s make it a point to give America the future it deserves. Let’s not get held up with focusing on the little hiccups along the way. We can’t let hiccups like the economy, education, energy, and the environment weigh us down or define us. We can fix all of it, we just have to come together to do so.
Never forget, what the goal is. It’s in our name and it always will be. So, be proud – unite.
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