My story has been one that is in no way unique or special, however, many astonished adults may feel otherwise. The conventionality of my story is due to the fact that I am a member of America's next generation of leaders and face alongside my fellow American youths a future unprecedented in its bleakness due to the obstructionism and brinkmanship by Washington politicians on whom our present and future success greatly depends.
My story starts at a small history museum in a California town no few have heard of nestled in the hills, but just minutes away from the centers of innovation of the Silicon Valley. For I walked into that museum on a hot summer day in 2005 as a pudgy 10 year-old who had been following politics since the Florida debacle of 2000, and had spent much of the ensuing half a decade devouring books on history and politics, immersing myself in the valor of Napoleon and the values of Jefferson.
For my quirkiness, I was shunned by my peers and viewed with puzzlement by my teachers, and that only served to accelerate my passion for the humanities, where I could transport myself into a world where I was able to succeed, a world where decency and integrity trumped expedience and ambition.
My business at the museum that day was to ask to volunteer, a request which few other elementary schoolers would have made in this day and age when video games offered entertainment and playground games seemed to be the main pastime. The request was granted by the amused curator, who quickly took me under her wing and soon had me interviewing local city council members about their careers and ambitions, a pursuit which landed me on the pages of the region's largest newspaper at only 11 years of age.
That project mushroomed over the years into a global juggernaut encompassing thousands of the world's leading luminaries in the fields of politics, business, and entertainment, the results of which were published in ebook form in January 2012.
As my museum work was winding down in December 2007, I wandered into a volunteer training at my local history museum for an upstart presidential candidate who many Americans had no idea about, Barack Obama. That day, I was trained in the art of voter outreach and soon became a formidable resource to the local organization, as a result of which I was allowed to stand behind Michelle Obama at a primary-eve rally packed with university students and to attend the-then senator's nomination acceptance speech, in addition to being sent a personal letter from the man himself congratulating me on my youthful enthusiasm and encouraging me to continue to be empathetic to the plight of those of our countrymen who were less fortunate than I.
After the senator became the president, I worked with his grassroots organizing team on the ground floor of the heated health care reform debate before spending a year experimenting with Republican politics and finding it thoroughly unsatisfactory and unsettling, causing me to stand where I am today as a progressive blogger and activist at 17 years of age.
The motive for my description of my past, which some may term impressive, is not to advance my story or push forward any agenda, but rather to provide a backdrop for the realities of my future. Many may assume that due to my involvement with civic affairs and my authoring of a book at the age of 16, I would be nearly assured of a solid opportunity to succeed as my life proceeds, however, the sad reality of the situation as it stands in our great nation today is that the American Dream is fast becoming something you have to be asleep to achieve and that American youth are struggling to obtain the very basic opportunities which generations of their predecessors took for granted.
Whether the issue is women's health or college tuition, success in the classroom or success in the boardroom, the chances of achieving the highest levels of success purely through hard work and persistence is fast becoming ever more unfeasible.
Beyond that sad reality, there is the worrisome fact that all this is happening at a most inopportune time, for this next generation of Americans -- my generation -- will undoubtedly face the greatest challenges our nation has seen thus far and will have to battle that constant barrage of potential catastrophes with what is fast seeming to become a limited amount of resources and opportunities.
There is, however, hope for a turnaround, hope that out of these darkest of nights comes the brightest of days, and there is one candidate in the presidential election this year who is uniquely capable of turning that hope, which he has played such a major role in spreading, into the reality from sea to shining sea.
That man is Barack Obama, who has spent the past four years working tirelessly to restore opportunity and liberty to all Americans, and it is my opinion as someone who has seen firsthand and experienced firsthand the struggles of young Americans that he deserves eight years to fix the ills which took eight years to accumulate under the irresponsible and devastatingly negative Bush 43 presidency.