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During a telenews conference with African-American leaders on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama urged citizens to remember “… we can get to the mountaintop, but it’s a journey, not one step.” With Democrats nervously watching poll numbers slide in recent months as a surge in support for Republican-bred Tea Party candidates has swept the country, civil rights leaders such as Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Joseph Lowery led the conference to encourage African Americans, who are imperative to the party’s success, to “organize and mobilize.” Related Articles White House: ‘Every Vote Counts’ Democrats Call on Michelle Obama to Hit the Campaign Trail President Obama to Democrats: ‘Buck Up’ It is not pure insanity to be fearful of a loss of support in the black community. Traditional African-American values are more closely reflected in the Republican Party agenda: pro-life, anti-gay marriage and keeping marijuana illegal. With a line drawn in the sand separating Obama supporters from those frustrated with the president’s lack of a “black agenda,” Democrats are relying on the charisma of the Commander-in-Chief along with his proven results to reinvigorate voters with the strong feeling of hope that embodied his successful run for the White House. Outlining his plan to grant more than 1 billion dollars to HBCUs over the next 10 years, increase student loans by tens of millions, and sustain a vibrant middle class, President Obama quoted Tom Duvall, leader of Students for Obama: “In 2008 we changed the guard, and in 2010 we must guard the change. “Republicans have consistently tried to keep us in the past,” he continued, “[We] cannot allow them in to the driver’s seat with claims of driving us forward. Our continued labors are imperative to elect Democrats this fall.” Rev. Sharpton (pictured right) urged voters to “have the President’s back” as he continues to lead the charge for better conditions for all minorities, stating that “the Democratic Party is committed to education and seeing our children from the cradle to a career. We can’t let them down, and we can’t let ourselves down.” In a political climate rife with racist radical fringe groups fanning the flames of intolerance and prejudice, it is important that we as a community reject attitudes of apathy and continue to encourage everyone to get out and vote. An impassioned statement by the Rev. Lowery was reminiscent of the intensity of the Civil Rights Movement: “We have prayed too hard, wept too bitterly, bled too much and died too young to turn back now.” Though I am a registered Democrat, I am not against the foundational ideology of the Republican Party. I believe that capitalism in its purest form encourages independence from government and empowers individuals with a sense of purpose and reward. I also agree with limited taxes for small business owners as a means of stimulating the economy. However, that only works in theory when the historic marginalization of an entire people is not taken into consideration. The Republican party cannot claim to be for the people, when only those who have access to better education, occupations and health care stand to benefit from their policies. Dr. Martin L. King III closed with these words from his father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A vote-less people is a powerless people.” We must not let division and petty politics deter us from our goal of enhancing the lives of all Americans, regardless of color. “Hope” and “Change” are only abstract ideals if we allow them to be; it is our responsibility this fall to show Republicans what those words look like when put into action. Vote. Our children’s America depends on it.

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