Election Eve

Honestly, I can barely write today. I'm a ball of nerves about tomorrow's election, so I'm looking forward to going to our local Obama office later this afternoon to make some calls to folks in neighboring Pennsylvania. Please, please, please vote -- wherever you are -- especially if you're voting for Obama. This isn't a done deal yet.

Why is this important to me? Why am I so amped up about this election? Is it just my infatuations with Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow? Hardly...

Several years ago, I left my job in publishing to become a high school English teacher. My goal was to inspire kids to learn something -- hopefully something useful. I taught in the Bronx for two years, and I have just recently resigned my position in Newark, NJ to take care of my own babies for a few years. I could write a whole series of blogs about what is wrong with education in America and in particular in our urban areas, but I'll save that for later. To (over)simplify, there are many things that kids need, but mostly they need hope and some dependable people. I found that I was sometimes the only reliable adult in my students' lives. In the classroom -- often without the books or supplies or air conditioning that my students needed to do as well as the ones in the fancy suburbs -- I would find myself telling my students that they could be or do whatever they wanted in life as long as they worked for it. Heck, they could even be President! But was it true? Did I actually believe it? I'm not sure. I've been a progressive pretty much my whole life, I think, but in retrospect, I think my line to my students was mostly wishful thinking. Barack Obama has changed all that, and it makes me tear up just thinking about it. I really can look a student in the eye -- no matter the color of their skin or their gender -- (thank you, too, Hillary Clinton) and tell them that it is possible. I'm looking forward to being in the classroom and having that moment again.

I'm not just supporting Barack Obama because he says he's going to pay teachers more and my union tells me he's the right choice for us. I support him because he has moved our country's civil rights battle to the next level. I support him because he understands how to organize people for action. I support him because he is thoughtful and his speaking reflects that. I support him because he hasn't gotten mean, nasty and negative -- and because he doesn't need to. I support him because he personifies hope for me, my students and my own children. Won't you join me?