A few months ago, I was digging through some old photos that I had recently discovered. Among the many embarrassing baby pictures that my parents decided to keep (for a reason I will never fully understand) I came across one that caught my attention. It was a picture of my dad, happy as could be, blowing out the candles of an American flag cake. Intrigued, I asked my mom about the context—it was the day my dad became a U.S. citizen.
Nearly 37 years ago, my parents came to this country: my mother from the Dominican Republic and my father from Iran. They came to this country because it had something to offer—namely, the notion that hard work pays off. To them, it was important that they raise their child in an environment in which success is attainable, regardless of status. With that notion in mind, my parents were determined that I get an education, something that was cut short in their own lives. Thanks to their hard work, and my affordable student loans, I will soon be the first in my family to graduate college. But my story isn’t a unique story—it's an American story.
The American story is something that President Obama is fighting for every single day. Each of his accomplishments are tied together by one thing: the idea that your ability to prosper in this country shouldn't be hindered by things that are outside of your control. To President Obama, being poor shouldn't be the reason you don't get an education. Being gay shouldn't count you out of serving your country. Being ill shouldn't be the deciding factor between paying your mortgage or getting treatment. It's the things that you can control—namely, how hard you're willing to work—that should determine your level of success.
That's why I supported President Obama in 2008 (even though I was too young to vote) and why I'm supporting him now. Frankly, he gets it. He understands the American story because he himself is a product of it.
To me, winning this election means much more than simply reelecting an excellent leader. It means keeping the American story a possibility so that future generations can be within reach of the sweet taste of success—a sweetness that may or not come with a piece of American flag cake.