The Night President Obama Saved My Life

As we as American citizens are on the brink of electing our next president many of us cant help but reflect on the 8 year tenure of our latest President, Barack Obama. As we journey to the polls to cast our ballots in one the most grueling, unbelievably ugly yet historical political battles we have every witnessed concerning the running for this high office. We cant help but to thinkabout what will happen next? Who will be our next president? Either way it will be a moment in history we will never forget but will it be because of the First Woman president or the First ever non politician to hold this office? Despite which way history is made, the question many are posing is exactly how does a president truly impact the lives of everyday Americans like me? Can an American presidential candidate actually affect our everyday lives on an local and individual level? Many believe that choosing a president isn't really a big deal because it wont directly affect those who are on the bottom of the totem pole. While others believe that their vote doesn’t matter at all. There are also those who argue that voting is necessary and has a direct impact on ones life. We could argue for days about our points and views so therefore, I urge you to cease from the arguing for a moment. As your headed to the polls take a moment reflect on how did the last president impact your life. Whether big or small, whether direct or indirect, whether for the better or for worse, just think. You just might see something you've never seen before and it just might motivate you to choose a candidate that speaks to your heart or concern, plans on policy or the very core of who you are. Or you just may choose base it off of the character of the individual and their compelling speeches alone. Whatever the reason choose wisely and think about how will this president affect my life and the lives of those I love and care about.

Now I know many will still argue that “a president can’t and won't affect my life. They are too far removed from my situation.” Well, you aren't alone in that line of thinking. I once thought the same thing until Nov. 5, 2008, when President Obama gave his acceptance speech as he was named the first African American President of the United States. Now that accomplishment alone changed my life because it was monumental for our people. The excitement, pure joy, astonishment, pride and several other unexplainable emotions that African Americans shared along with others from around the world, united us in a way like never before. He became a real life symbol that we as African Americans could be whatever we wanted to be in this world despite the restrictions that have been placed upon us for hundreds of years. It was a moment that pushed us to rise up and recognize who we truly are, recognize that our abilities can stretch far beyond us and what I ancestors imagined could actually occur. Of course one man couldn’t quite change the course of the glass ceiling for people of color but this was an accomplishment for all, that caused us all to dream bigger.

That moment alone should have been the moment of life saving but it wasn’t. President Barack Obama saved my life because he poured words and hope into me through a tv screen.
“I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was in my living room of my small apartment and I was extremely depressed and suicidal. That day was suppose to be my last day on this earth. I had enough of the pain and turmoil I was experiencing and I truly believed that I was better off dead. My television just so happened to be on and as I sat in the middle of my floor contemplating how I would take myself out of here, the votes rolled in and it was announced that Barack Obama was named our 44th president. Slowly, it captured my attention. It served as a distraction from my current state. In the midst of my tears, pain and overall disgust with life ant the trauma I endured, I found myself on the floor crying. It wasn’t until he took the stage and opened his mouth did things truly change for me. As he told the story of the 106 year old African American woman, Ann Nixon Cooper who casted her vote and all she saw and endured over the years.  The fact that she still had a yes we can spirit, who was I not to have one as well? If she could endure all of that from post slavery period to segregation, to women not being able to vote and still have hope and faith for change and the courage to cast her vote, then I should too! He went on to say, “And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can. At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can”

I cried my heart out thanking God for sending me the motivation and the courage to say yes I can! His passion and belief was real, raw and wrapped in unbelievable hope.  Most of all, it sent me the message that my voice had power. Well 8 years later here I am alive and well and doing all that I set out to do, so that others can believe that they can too! Helping others find their voice and recognize the power that they have. Now this presidential race might not give you that type of experience but but it just might open the eyes of yet another young girl and cause her to believe something that she never believed was possible before is now possible! Or shape the way a young boy views women or believes he should act. That sexual assault is merely ‘locker room talk or behavior”. Regardless of who you choose know that they will be sending a message, the question is which message do you want sent? Exercise your civic duty and right! Go Vote and send the message that best fits your voice or the voice you would like your children or family to have! James Baldwin said it best, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” The message you send is what they will imitate! Their lives are in your hands!

The Night President Obama Saved My Life~ LaQuisha Anthony, Founder – CEO of V.O.I.C.E, Author, Speaker & Voice Coach

Laquisha Anthony