Raven Tarrance, a 16-year-old from East Oakland who is serving as a page for the House of Representatives, wrote this essay about watching the presidential election returns in Washington, D.C. with pages representing both parties. -Katy
November 4, 2008: the Election Day that would make history. This was the day that every person, young or old, had the right to let their voice be heard and vote. But the person that made the day so special was Barack Obama, the African American presidential candidate.
My classmates and I watched CNN anxiously while waiting for the results. Obama T-shirts and signs filled the room. As the room overflowed with pages, you could feel the tension rise between the two parties. Harmless teasing turned into candidate bashing.
After becoming bored with the immaturity level in the Day Room, I stopped paying attention to the television screen. I gradually became uninterested in the biggest election in the history of America. Everything that was important earlier that day was unimportant. I began to question everything I thought mattered.
“How much of this really matters to people where I live?” I asked myself, “And why should they care?”
Here I was in Washington D.C. as a page, while most of my friends have never been out of California. People dying every day on the streets of Oakland, and I’m arguing with a McCain supporter. At that moment I realized I was wasting time, concerning myself with ignorance. I was becoming a part of the problem, instead of the solution. I started to understand that no matter what happened, change would come, regardless of who got elected.
The only thing that mattered was the future. When we leave the Page Program, none of us will remember the argument we had the night of the election. But we will remember who won: Barack Obama, our first black president.