During my summer in DC, I have been fortunate enough to enjoy running
and walking down the National Mall. I’m always inspired with the
Capitol steps in one direction and the Washington Monument towering in
the other. Both symbolize so clearly to me the freedom and liberty we
enjoy in this country. It’s also wonderful to see just how many people
take advantage of the Mall, whether it’s for sightseeing or leisure.
However, one thing in particular, which I have found particularly
interesting, is the use of the mall for political purposes.
So this past Saturday, I stumbled upon a rally for Ron Paul, one of the
Republican Presidential candidate hopefuls who dropped out of the race
this past spring. It seemed a bit odd to me that so many would gather
in support of the former candidate’s beliefs. Streams of questions
flooded my mind, as I stood perplexed on the Mall. As a result, I
started thinking about the upcoming election. What is the point of such
an event when the candidate is longer running? Clearly, Paul’s platform
must have resonated with these Americans, but why are they still moving
forward when there is seemingly nowhere to go? And how much of a
significant role will this group play in the 2008 election? Is this a
sign of hopefulness for Obama that members of the Right seem
unsatisfied with the candidate that the Republican Party has chosen? Or
is this group of Ron Paul supporters really associated with the Right?
Would they typically vote for a Republican candidate, or did Paul’s
platform bring new light to the Presidency that they found hopeful?
I cannot help but anxiously wonder what this fall’s election will look
like, and how the political process will carry itself out. Will a third
party candidate be a viable force in the election, taking votes away
from a majority party candidate? Will the youth turn out to vote? I am
personally preparing for a season full of surprises.
Despite all of these questions, I began to remember what really is
important in this seemingly divisive time in America: remembering the
reality that we possess the freedom to participate wholly in the
political process. We can speak and write freely about our political
preferences, and we have the liberty to vote for whomever we choose. We
cannot forget that all across the world people do not have this right.
The Ron Paul rally is indicative of this American freedom. Although
Washington DC often becomes overly politically fractured, the symbolic
landmarks here should serve to remind us of the great privilege of
being an American.