Matthew is a member of the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run political awareness organization for high school students.
Every four years, Americans decide whom they want to represent, or continue to represent, our great country in the White House on election day. Although this process culminates that first Tuesday of November, it is important to remember that it was in fact a process.
August 30 was a big day for Mitt Romney. News networks will no longer call him "presumptive Republican nominee" in their attempts to appease the Paulbots who think Ron Paul somehow had a chance of becoming the nominee, let alone moving to the Oval Office.
Instead of going to school for my first week this year, I went to Tampa for the Republican National Convention with a group of students from the Junior State of America, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Pundits like to say that no one's been with Romney from the start, or that no one is actually excited about his campaign, but I can attest to that being far from the truth. I can say proudly that I never second-guessed my support for Romney, and I have stuck with him through the ups and downs of the campaign, never doubting that he could overcome the (not very) tough challenge Herman Cain posed, or the (tougher) challenges Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum posed.
As for no one being excited about Romney, I would have to say that that is a lie, plain and simple. When I wake up every morning, the first question I ask myself is "Which Romney shirt should I wear today?" My obsession with him is such that my friends will call me Romney from time to time.
At the RNC itself, I was in the audience for an episode of Hardball with Chris Matthews. At one point, he came down to ask us what we thought about Ryan and Romney, and he interviewed us (and I say that in the loosest possible sense).
Aside from that, the convention itself was beyond remarkable. Upon entering, I would walk around the stadium itself, looking for any Senators or Congressmen, and getting my picture with them, as well as having them sign my ties (which are now legendary -- the Washington Examiner posted a video of Chelsea Clinton signing one of them). After meeting rockstars like Allen West, Cliff Stearns (who sadly lost his primary), Tim Pawlenty, Kit Bond, Chuck Fleischmann, Ron Johnson, Jon Kyl, John Barrasso, John Mica, Roger Wicker and Louie Gohmert, I was beginning to think that the nothing could be better.
Well, I was wrong. Clint talking to a chair was awesome (not to mention that it didn't seem like he was rambling if you saw it live), but the other speakers came as close to knocking my socks off as is humanly possible. Whether it was virtually crying when Marco Rubio said that his dad stood "behind a bar in the back of the room all those years so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room," or Condoleezza Rice remembering how her mother used to tell her that she "can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State," these moments should serve as a reminder to all of the great promise of the American dream.
And then there was Romney. I can't even count the number of times I've heard that this would be the most important speech he'd given to date, and I have to say, I agree with that sentiment. However, I would add that he really showed a side of himself that the American people haven't been exposed to, given Obama's ads attacking Romney's business record at Bain, which even Bill Clinton has called "sterling."
For me, the RNC won't be the end of my personal political activity, either during this electoral cycle or for future ones. Even though I'm 16 and can't vote, I spent countless days of my life working on Senator Richard Lugar's (R-IN) campaign, trying to keep statesmen in the Senate, and am now doing the same by working on Scott Brown's (R-MA) campaign, since Lugar (tragically) lost his primary.
For all those who think that politicians have lost their way, I would say that meeting not only the representatives themselves, but also their wives -- and in Connie Mack's case, his parents -- really humanizes the whole process, and we are reminded that we are all just people.
The RNC reminded me that regardless of November's outcome, that is what the president will be: a human, just like you and me.