Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Generation: My American Dream

This past May my little sister graduated from college with her Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. I attended the ceremony with my aunt and my grandmother. As the pomp and circumstance processional began to play, the tears just ran down my face in an uncontrollable manner. The momentum of the occasion had built up, and I believe sitting between my grandmother and aunt, I fully realized the significance of their journey to The United States and what the many sacrifices of my family meant for both me, and my sister. My sister and I have had numerous discussions over the course of our lives about success and what it meant to us. I've alway known that we were both capable of exceeding the expectations of our parents, and going a step further than their circumstances permitted them to go. On that May morning it hit me, my sister and I dramatically changed the paradigm for our family. We did this in one generation. All because we had the opportunity to get an education. 

The theme of the Democratic National Convention's opening night was - the "American Dream." Not just the "American Dream" as the phrase is so often casually thrown around, but the true meaning of the phrase where mothers, father, grandmothers and grandfathers are truly seeking a better tomorrow for the next generation. The Democratic National Committee hit a home-run with the line up they put forth to convey this vision to the "American People."

Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts:

I've watched Governor Patrick speak numerous times, but last evening he gave the speech of his life. He spoke candidly about the importance of this upcoming election and the consequences we face as a nation, if we trust a candidate who wants to take the country backwards, instead of forward. Governor Patrick challenged Democrats and The President to grow a backbone and start standing up for what they truly believe in. He also highlighted the importance of education and gave a true picture of where Massachusetts stood under the leadership of Governor Romney. 

Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas:

Mayor Castro was electrifying and a much needed fresh perspective and fresh face for the party. This was my first time hearing Castro speak and I was impressed. He spoke of the immigrant experience and really captured the theme of the evening by relaying his personal story. Like myself, my sister, Governor Patrick and First Lady Michelle Obama; Mayor Castro dramatically changed the paradigm of his family through education. 

Mrs. Michelle Obama, First Lady of The United States of America:

When I look at the three people above, I see a stark contrast between them and the figure heads of the Republican Party. The line of the evening that stood out the most to me, came from Mrs. Obama:
When you work hard and done well and walk through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. No, you reach back and you give other folks the same chances that help you succeed.” 
So here we have group of people whose lives exceeded the expectations and visions of many. The generation before them truly wanted a better tomorrow for them and the rest of the country. They laid the ground work through their hard work, sacrifice and struggle. Governor Patrick, Mayor Castro and Mrs. Obama fully understand that we all collectively benefit from one another and that as Americans we not only have a civic duty, but an OBLIGATION to see that we help the people behind us. Each of us didn't get to where we are on our own, but because someone belived in us and gave us an opportunity. That someone could be an aunt or uncle, or a goverment program. 

This message digs deep into the core of our existence and speaks to the basic principles that the nation was founded on. Government has been demonized long enough and last evening the Democrats decided to finally put a stop to it. Like President and Mrs. Obama I went to college mostly on student loans. I went to a public high school and rode the public school bus. The idea that an individual can succeed in the United States and gain substantial wealth, but feel justified to demonize the very country that gave them so much, is wrong and unpatriotic. Not wanting to give back to your country to help others behind you, is slamming the door shut behind you. 

The Republican Party wants to slam the door shut and lock out future generations from the American Dream.

All it takes is one generation to make a substantial difference. Are you willing to risk our future to repeat the past?
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