My parents taught me that volunteering is the best way to prove my commitment to a cause. When I was younger, sometimes I balked at going with my family to the homeless shelter to serve dinner, or attending a fundraising event, or selling cold drinks outside the grocery store for charity. “Why do I have to? Can’t someone else do this?” I asked my mother. She answered me, Socrates-style, with a question of her own: “If everyone says that, who will do it?”
I graduated from college in June of 2011, and my mother’s question is more important to me now than ever before. The proscribed schedule is completed, I am out of school, and it’s up to me to decide what comes next. Many of my friends have signed up for graduate school and jobs with Morgan Stanley. But I’m not excited about the condo lease, the car payment, or the uninteresting job. Rather than stability, I want a chance to put my money where my mouth is and dedicate myself to a project I believe in. As I consider where I want my life to go from here, my mother’s question comes back to me: If it needs to be done, who will do it but you?
You know what needs to be done, just as I do. Our president needs our help to win the election in 2012.
We need a second term of service from President Obama. I am personally grateful to the President for the positive reforms he has pushed through in the past three years. President Obama has given me access to health insurance. Despite my disqualifying “preexisting condition” (I had leukemia more than 15 years ago), health insurance companies will have to offer me coverage starting in 2014. Thanks to the President, my friend Stephanie, who is a lesbian, can pursue the military career she has always dreamed of without hiding her identity. My roommate has Spinal Muscular Atrophy and has used a wheelchair all her life. She suffers from intense job discrimination due to her disability, but she hopes to be hired by the federal government in Barack Obama’s push for greater federal employment for people with disabilities. These stories and more convince me that President Obama is committed to helping the every day Americans who elected him, not the wealthy companies and their lobbies.
Barack Obama is my president. He is the first president I volunteered for, and the first president I voted for. Like all the other students who supported the President’s 2008 campaign, I identify his presidency with my own transition into adulthood. And now, for the first time in my life, my time is my own to spend as I see fit. I’m choosing to be a part of President Obama’s election campaign because this is a cause I proudly support, and I know I can help.
It’s time to walk the walk. I’m in for 2012.