Thursday, August 28, 2008

Something to believe in

Along with millions of Americans, I watched the Democratic National Convention this week. I sat each night watching people I admired, people I doubted and people I knew little about give speeches about the state of our nation and the hope for a new future. I wanted to believe them and I wanted to know that change was coming. Tonight Obama delivered that faith to me.

As a teacher, I cheered when he spoke of guaranteeing quality teachers for students, ensuring that standards are met and that any child willing to give time to their country should be awarded with a college education. As a woman, I rejoiced at his admiration of Hillary Clinton and his desire to ensure equal pay for equal work. As an American I believed him when he promised to bring us out of the recession, to help us all keep our homes, save our jobs and make ends meet.

The last few months have been difficult on our family. My husband lost his job to the real estate shakeup (and some bad management) shortly after I had chosen to leave my accounting job for a restaurant and return to teaching. This left us living on unemployment and my substitute teaching (and tutoring) salary. All while we're trying to pay bills accrued while caring for ailing grandparents. Luckily we cut expenses and have wonderful parents that helped out when my car's thermostat decided to die. But still, it's a constant stress and a constant pressure. The job prospects in the valley are drier than the landscape and nearly everyone I know who lost their job are averaging 9-10 months before finding another. We decided to send my hubby back to school while I'm doing my credential online. This means a tight budget and probably very little time together. But we both believe in teaching and want to move forward in that direction. However, now I'm facing the possibility of losing my student loan. This isn't due to credit ratings or anything we have done - it's because of the subprime mortgage situation. This has made companies nervous about loans and many companies are pulling student loans - with a week left before classes start.

I have been absolutely ripped apart by all of this - the stress, the fear, the hopelessness. However, for one hour tonight I saw a light ahead and saw promises that could be fulfilled. I saw hope in the eyes of an honest man, a father, a husband, a son and a man of faith. There are no words for how much I needed to see that tonight and how much we all need to see a future that benefits more than the rich.

I will not attack McCain, nor will I attack his supporters. We all make the choices in the privacy of our home and we have curtained voting booths for a reason. I just know that this year, for the first time since I've been voting, I'll actually be voting FOR a candidate rather than against his opponent. And this gives me the most solid and real feel of patriotism that I have ever experienced.

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