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February 2009

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Especially after studying the 19th century, I truly understand how important legitimacy is in the success of a government, or a leader. Just as the people of France questioned the legitimacy of Napoleon, being a Corsican, as he rose to power, we must also question the legitimacy of every presidential candidate in this election.

This is not to say that John McCain is not a legitimate candidate, or that Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama are. Each candidate has every right to be contending for the presidency: they are American people, with American interests at heart. Whether or not I agree with their policies does not matter.

A key component is, however, the reaction of the people to the candidates. People say that Obama, for example, is less legitimate than the other two candidates because of his lack of experience. They say that people - young voters especially - only support him because of his youth and his charisma, not for his policies. But to say this is to call the majority of the youth of America, and every other Obama supporter, illegitimate and incorrect.

We do not have the right, if we are to claim to live in a democracy, to completely discount the entire movement that is sweeping across our nation in this election. The fact that we have record voter turnouts - especially in the younger demographics - and massive grassroots activism, means that something has truly changed in the way we interact in our own democratic system. And that means something.

We cannot discount the discussion that has been started by the idea of change, the idea of a democratic revolution so to speak, where we transform the partisan politics of today into the cooperation of the future. To deny that discussion, to say that the American people do not want to change the way things are right now, is ignorant. Even if Obama is not elected, change will happen in this country, because this discussion will not end in November. We have truly revolutionized the way we view our role in government over the past year.

You and I are living in America at one of the most powerful times in its recent history. It is now our responsibility as free citizens to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded us by that freedom, and to vote, and get out and change as much as we can, and deflect the path we are currently walking on as a nation, before it's too late. To say that we can't is to give in to the pessimism, and to fear the possibility that something could go wrong. If we live that way, we will never progress, and everything will crumble into self-doubt and denial. Hope is the only way to better our world.

Yes. We. Can.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but merely the recognition that something is more important than fear."