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September 1, 2008

To Dream the Impossible Dream

Forty-five years ago my wife-to-be and I stood amongst a huge multitude of people on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and heard a young black preacher spell out his dream of a future for America. It was a stirring vision of a society that, "one day," could become a reality.

At the time, his dream seemed like a beautiful but unreachable goal. However, last Thursday, exactly 45 years to the day, we sat in another crowd to witness a young African-American fulfill the promise of that long-ago dream. We heard Barack Obama spell out his own vision of the future of America. Like the dream of the preacher, it seems like an unreachable goal. But we now know that dreams can come true with lots of hard work, dedication and sacrifice on the part of the dreamers.

I was pleased to hear the Democratic candidate for President of the United States include the following in his vision of our future:

"The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals."

That is an important goal for a candidate running for public office in this day and age when gun violence has become an epidemic and most politicians are trying to ignore or run away from the issue of gun control.

A day later we were presented with a stark contrast when a self-proclaimed "lifetime member of the National Rifle Association" was chosen to be the candidate for Vice-President on the Republican ticket. It was a curious and disappointing choice for a presidential candidate who had hinted at his independence from the gun lobby when he recently reiterated support for closing the Gun Show Loophole.

In the days ahead, we will have an opportunity to find out who is the real John McCain: the maverick willing to buck special interests to better the lives of everyday Americans, or the politician eager to court right-wing favor even if it means betraying his principles?

Soon we will have a clear choice of visions. And then the future will be in our hands when we head to the polls in November...

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