"Forward" - by UAB student and Democrat, Beau Bowden
"You know those bumper stickers that have the blue dot in the red square that symbolizes being a Democrat in a Republican dominate state? Sometimes I feel like that blue dot is too big and over represents the Democratic population in Alabama..."
About the Author
You know those bumper stickers that have the blue dot in the red square that symbolizes being a Democrat in a Republican dominate state? Sometimes I feel like that blue dot is too big and over represents the Democratic population in Alabama. Most of my friends are Democrats, and Birmingham is situated in one of the Bluest districts in the country, but how often do I venture outside of the Birmingham area to the more rural areas of the state? Not often.
It can seem hopeless for a Democrat in Alabama to vote because our state is so Republican. I know that my vote won’t affect the outcome of which candidate gets Alabama’s electoral votes (spoiler: Mitt Romney will win Alabama). I continue to vote though. When I see the numbers for the popular vote tally, I know that I am one of the millions that voted for Obama. I know that my vote stands for something. I vote because democracy is one of the most wonderful concepts that human beings have ever envisioned.
My mother calls me the “odd duck” of the family because I am a Democrat. When she asked me why I vote Democrat, I tell her the same thing that I tell everyone else. I vote Democrat because I benefit more from them being in office. Looking forward at my job prospects after graduation is challenging given the tough economy. It isn’t the government’s fault that I probably won’t have a job. I majored in History and Political Science, but these are the things that I love and I know somehow everything will work out. To be happy and to do these things that I love I am going to need help from the government though. The Declaration of Independence says that everyone possesses the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Those three rights, especially the last one, are more precious to me than anything written in the Bill of Rights or anything promised to me by a politician. Americans have the right to pursue whatever will make them happy, complete, successful. Whether it is love, money, religion, friendship, or community, we can aim to achieve happiness. That doesn’t mean we are guaranteed happiness, though. It is not the government’s job to wield a magic wand and give everyone everything they want out of life. And, the government’s job is not to stand aside and let individuals break themselves apart trying to achieve the unachievable. The government must help us and we must help each other.
When people ask “Are you really better off today than you were four years ago” I laugh it off. It is a silly question because, even in the worst economic state that the country has been in since the Great Depression, we were/are better off than most of the world. We, as a country, are better off today than we have been at any other point in our history. To suggest otherwise is absurd, but I understand wanting a more perfect union. President Obama ran in 2008 on a platform of “Hope” and “Change.” I have seen change. Everything I wanted him to do hasn’t gotten done, but I see the progress that has been made. I have been able to go to school because of the expanded Pell Grants and student loan programs. I can stay on my parent’s health insurance for a few more years while I try to start my life. When I meet a foreigner or immigrant, I feel better about America’s role in the world. Instead of fighting an unnecessary war, we are sending more aid and promoting peace. America is doing more good for the world than it is bad. More importantly than the change I see though is that I still have personal hope. I am a dreamer and I believe that life will give me great opportunities. Life is hard, but I can pursue my dreams and carry on the hope the President gave me at a time in my life when I needed it most. My vote isn’t about the country; it’s about me.
About the Author
Beau Bowden is a double major in History and Political Science. He is currently engaged in a Public Service Internship with Birmingham Aids Outreach. Beau encourages everyone to get out and vote on November 6th.