My president is a minority. My president came from a single-parent home. My president worked hard and sacrificed for his education. My president looks like the America I really know. For the first time I am proud to be American, proud of my country, and proud of my president.
Some would criticize me, that as a veteran I should have always been proud of my country. Well I am not only a soldier but I am also a minority who came from poverty and a single-parent home. I do not describe these conditions as obstacles but rather as a result of past generations and the institutional structure of our nation. Realizing these truths at a young age created bitterness and resentment toward my country that had allowed discriminations against cultures to be cultivated. Resentment was clearly aimed at the status quo but also toward my parent's generation, who, in my opinion, gave up the fight for equality and settled for middle-class jobs, or any job for that matter. Today I understand that my parent's fight set the stage for yesterday's victory of President Elect Barack Obama.
I laid to a rest a big portion of my resentment last night as I watched the WORLD erupt with the election of the first minority to the American Presidency. Watching old civil-rights leaders cry, I couldn't help but whisper "thank you". Without those civil-rights leaders, I would not be able to sit here at this moment and spell out these words for all to read. Without leaders like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin L. King; Barack Obama would not have had the opportunity to inspire the world to change and believe again. I finally believe that our country and our people are changing in ways I thought impossible 24 hours ago. While many are trying to hold on to that America of the 20th century, there is an even greater generation on the rise that is going to build this country for the next century. Last night I saw the beginnings of that new century and the end of the regimes that have ruled our country for the past 28 years. (Reagans, Bushes, Clintons) I can only hope this is the last time I hear those last names with president elect attached. I would love to see the last name Bush next to the word "jailed," but only one dream at a time.
Proud to be American!
-- Xavier Perez
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