What Shall Be Your Legacy?

November 04, 2008

I am a part of a message board on which I post daily. Nearly all of the members are college-educated people ranging from ages 18 to over 40. What’s fascinating about the site are the variety of backgrounds and experiences that come together and speak on a wide range of issues. Recently we’ve talked at length about this election and what it means to be a human being living in the United States right now. Most of us have been involved in serious efforts to increase voter registration and education and shed light on the importance of using the power in our voices.

There is a stirring like I’ve never seen in this country, a stirring for change. Regardless of political party affiliations, people seem to be awake to the reality that a change is on the horizon and needed now more than ever. With our national economic status being less than firm and our beloved armed forces fighting a war, we as a people need to be embraced, uplifted, and stimulated to maintain and increase the power of the American spirit.

We, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more “perfect” union must not let this election pass by without the respect of our attention and our action. Read. Listen. Learn. VOTE. We have the power to elect representatives who understand and are passionate about America being the land of liberty and opportunity. America is a land of hope. We need people in office striving to house the homeless and feed the hungry. We need people in office with children’s literacy and obesity as issues close to their hearts. We need our elected officials with crusades for equal opportunity employment, quality healthcare, and freedom of speech on their professional and political agendas. We need elected officials who will make us proud to spell our names H-U-M-A-N in the United States.

Renowned opera singer Denyce Graves sang the “American Anthem” at the United States presidential inauguration in 2000, and her words have warmed my heart ever since. We all should strive to be, and elect those who are, the type of Americans described in the song: “What shall be my legacy, what will my children say? Let them say of me, I was one who believed in sharing the blessings I’ve received. Let me know in my heart, when my days are few, America, America I gave my best to you.”

This post was written by Taqwaa Falaq Saleem, 2008–09 AAUW Student Advisory Council member.

By:   |   November 04, 2008

3 Comments

  1. Pamela Nakanelua says:

    “There is a stirring like I’ve never seen in this country, a stirring for change. Regardless of political party affiliations, people seem to be awake to the reality that a change is on the horizon and needed now more than ever.”
    Well written Taqwaa. I too feel this stirring. I got my vote in early and am sitting in Hawaii waiting for the 3 o’clock hour to strike so that I can start seeing some results.
    In my own state/county we have a couple of big issues on our ballot. Steel Rail and a Constitutional Convention, each of which will equal huge amounts of spending. The Rail issue will also equal huge amounts of jobs which will be beneficial to our economy and citizens, but it also erects a massive Rail system and once it is up we can’t ever turn back. The mayoral postition is also up for grabs, but it is very unlikely that we will see much change in that race. The incumbent will most likely take it in a landslide.
    Of course, we are all watching the big presidential race and with Obama having Hawaii ties he is a favorite here. I have actually registered as a democrat for the first time in my life and am actively being a political participant. Since I am from Hawaii it should come as no surprise who I am voting for, but not just for those Hawaii ties, I am voting for Obama cause I want change. I want hope and want something new and different to happen in these United States. I feel like only Obama is going to bring something new and different to us.

  2. holly kearl says:

    My senior year of high school in Virginia, where I had lived for 2 years, my government teacher told us about having to attend a segregated school her first few years of elementary school in Virginia and how a few years later after integration, the community pool in that town closed rather than have let black and white families and friends swim together. My parents and I had grown up in states that didn’t have segregation in any of our lifetimes, so hearing this astounded me. The woman sitting before me had lived through injustices that I had read about in history books; injustices I could never fully understand, no matter how empathetic I may try to be.

    Similarly, on the radio this week I heard about a woman who was in her 90s and her father had been a slave. Now she was going to vote for a black president. She never thought she would be able to do so in her lifetime. I teared up in my car when I heard this moving story.

    It is amazing to think how far we’ve come and I hope that our actions today as a nation will help us continue to progress toward equality for all people. I hope our legacy will be that in another 40 years it will not be news that a woman or a person of color runs for and/or wins the office of president or vice president because it will be so common and accepted.

  3. I too have been a part of a group of election followers. We were/are all for the same presidential candidate, but especially are a group trying to inform ourselves before voting. The group acted like a network tying us to many organizations that have interests in the results of the election. A return to dialogue rather than namecalling will be so valuable as all of us roll up our sleeves. It will not be easy.

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