When President Barack Obama strode to the podium to be sworn into office for his second term on Monday, January 21, I will admit, I took pride in the fact that I helped put him there.
As a proud first-time voter, I had a say in who became the president. Sure, my vote was only one of 126 million cast in the 2012 presidential election, but it was significant. In fact, according to statistics, young people ages 18 to 29 made up 19 percent of the voters and 60 percent of them voted for President Obama. I am proud to be part of that statistic.
Let me start by saying that the second Presidential debate was far more interesting than the first, which was nice because it meant that the people I was watching it with were listening, and, therefore, quiet. We all paid close attention to the first few questions, interested in what the candidates had to say and appreciative of the “town hall” style format.
Then, things started to get a little heated; Obama got feisty, and before our very eyes, the debate seemed to transform from a discussion about policy into an exciting head-to-head match that reminded me of the battle at the end of Star Wars when Luke and Darth Vader go after each other–Darth Vader wielding his red (Republican) light saber and Luke facing him with his blue (Democratic) one.
The last time I watched a presidential debate, I was fourteen years old, and Obama was battling it out valiantly against John McCain. I didn’t understand anything about economics or foreign policy, but my parents and I cheered as Obama spoke his anthem to the American people, drew us in, and riled us up. He climbed up on his soapbox and got me invested, even at fourteen. I framed the newspaper from the day he was elected and hung it on the wall in my room.
One of the funny things about election years is that every time the presidential race comes around, people make straight forward issues far more complicated than they really are. Issues get sensationalized, and suddenly a simple change of policy becomes a convoluted mess.
For liberals, it is a threat to women’s rights. For conservatives, a risk to the separation of church and state;.And then there is a favorite of every politician, who will call it a violation of the First Amendment. Continue reading →