Joelle’s Story

Guess you could say that I’m tired.  Tired of all the excuses, anger and lack of action that has been prevalent in our country for some time.

Growing up in the 80’s, I remember the patriotism of the 70’s and the greed that followed.  My family was hardcore Republican so most of my values were molded around their views.  My last vote cast was for Pat Buchanan.  I was young and idealistic.  I’d been a teenage mother who refused government assistance and worked three jobs rather than take a hand out.  I figured, if I could do it, than anyone could.  I sacrificed my education to raise my children. Heck, I’d sacrificed a lot just to make ends meet - a Coleman cooler and toaster oven were my “appliances” in place of a refrigerator and stove.  There were no extras - and I’d be damned if I was going to rely on someone else to give me a boost, since I was the one who got me in this mess.  I was the product of stern, Republican upbringing.

As I got older my vision became a little softer, realizing that there was more to all of it than just working hard.  And although my life didn’t start off easily, I was blessed with a lot more than some folks.  I started realizing the importance of charity and giving back.  Finally understanding that nothing is truly black or white; one way or another; republican or democrat - that everything had two sides and deserved an opportunity to be heard.  But more importantly, I grew tired of the rhetoric and spin-doctors telling me what they thought I wanted to hear.  I stopped voting… figuring that my one vote didn’t really make a difference anyway.  Besides, I didn’t want to categorize myself as either this or that… I really wanted to be able to believe that someone was just as tired as I was and could actually do something to change this mess we were in.

Along came Barrack who, like me, came from the melting pot of Hawaii.  I knew that the Hawaiians celebrated Ohana (family) and differences.  So I started to listen more deeply to what he had to say. For the first time in a long time, I saw a candidate who really believed that he could make a difference.  One who didn’t buy into the stereotypes and negativity that Americans had become accustomed to… someone who was young, vibrant and ready to take on the issues without compromising his integrity or the needs of all Americans.  Young/old; rich/poor; black/white - he was committed to finding new ways to take this country to a better place.  Creating the excitement and pride in this country that I’d felt as a young girl.

I wish I could say that there is one man who can cure our ails of our country.  I wish I could say that there was a magic recipe for success, peace and harmony.  I don’t think that there is… but for the first time in a long time, I feel that my vote will be a catalyst for positive change.  That voting Obama is the first step in the right direction to bringing pride back to this great nation.

Go Obama!  May God Bless your path.

Joelle Bradshaw
Memphis, TN

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