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Voting is our privilege and our responsibility

Thank goodness we live in a country where we can freely vote.  It is something that we should not take for granted as we only have to look at other countries to see the chaos that has occurred because of voting or the lack of it.  Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent your vote has counted in the Buckeye State so far this year.  Obviously it will count again in the Fall when the general election is held.  With many of the caucuses and primaries now in the distant past, I would offer that we had more people voting in them than ever.  For example young people voted in record numbers and all of the candidates benefitted from this increase.  There has been so much build up to this primary season.  You only have to look at the amount of hoopla that surrounded the primaries held in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Voting has simple dominated the news coverage for some months now.  Unless something really strange happens we know that John McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee for president.  He has pretty much been able to watch the top Democratic candidates fight it out for the votes of the American people.  Of course we know that some months ago, John Edwards dropped out of the race and it left Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to convince the American public who on the Democratic side is best suited for the most important position in the world and that is president of the United States of America.  I will say more about John Edwards later.  While we all have our favorite Democratic candidate, we have to admire both Clinton and Obama.  They are both convincing and highly skilled orators able to deliver their message of hope and opportunity.
The media has absolutely been enthralled with both campaigns on the Democratic side while the Republican nominee, John McCain has not gotten as much national coverage.  Each day that Clinton and Obama campaign is a day that history is being made.  While there have been other women and other African Americans to run for president, none have captured the hearts and minds of Americans like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I never thought that in my lifetime, I would see a serious bid by a woman and an African American to become president.  It is simply unbelievable to me!  In my quiet moments, I consider how far America has come.  It is without debate that women and people of color have travelled a long and difficult road to get to this point. 
I think many of us get caught up in the Clinton and Obama battle because it has been so testy and fiercely contested.  Before we lose perspective let us just remember this couldn’t have happened in previous years.  The momentum for each candidate has been hanging in the balance with every caucus and primary.  The political pundits have gone back and forth about Barack’s strengths and Hillary’s strengths.  I have been watching the presidential elections for years and I have never seen so many women and people of color as political commentators.  Every time that I see Roland Martin on CNN, I say, “go boy”!
With the closeness of every contest, it means that every vote literally does count.  You only have to take a look at the Guam primary which Barack Obama won by a grand total of seven votes.  The news about each campaign becomes more compelling as the days go by.  Just the other night Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama pretty handily in West Virginia.  However not to be outdone on Wednesday Barack Obama introduced John Edwards while campaigning in Michigan.  And of course Edwards gave an enthusiastic endorsement of Barack Obama.  So the delegates that Hillary won and the delegates that Edwards has have almost cancelled each other out.  It makes Clinton’s victory in West Virginia not as sweet.  So in many ways it looks like from a practical viewpoint that all eyes are on Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for president.  I know some are pinching themselves. However, all indicators suggest Obama will be the party’s choice.  While all of the momentum is on Obama’s side, there is no quit in Hillary Clinton.  So let us give her high marks.
Having given great “props” to Hillary Clinton, I believe the nomination is in sight for Barack Obama.  It is the thinking of many that his victory in North Carolina and his narrow defeat in Indiana provided him with an insurmountable lead.  Of course Michigan and Florida are still on the outside looking in, but that will be fixed before the Democratic convention.  So when we have to vote, let us remember that every vote counts.  Just ask the citizens of Guam!

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