Today Matters.

For so long, there was this voice that was silenced out there as far as exercising your right to vote. I think it was a voice that was silent because people had lost hope. They didn’t believe that their voice mattered or counted.

You know, we thought it was just politics—people going back and forth—and at the end of the day, it never trickled down to where we lived; and now people are exercising their right, and you are starting to see the power of our vote.

He [Barack] made it mean something for the first time for a lot of people. Having someone in office who understands how powerful our voice can be. It is very important.

~ Rapper Jay-Z on the power of voting (Jay-Z: The Power of Our Voice)

THE FUTURE OF AMERICA can come down to just one day.

It did on July 2nd, 1776, when the Founding Fathers of this nation ratified the Declaration, it did when the Japanese air force bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941—and it most certainly did when the Twin Towers in New York collapsed and the Pentagon building suffered collateral damage on the morning of 9/11.

These moments matter—and despite all the bigotry, hate and fear we instill in the political arena, at the end of each passing day, we are still friends, brothers, comrades one and the same.

During my senior year of high school, I was reminded of a crucial but often overlooked lesson: it doesn’t matter who we are or what we do, humans are competitive in nature. We compete in everything from grades and test scores to politics to the football, soccer and baseball field. But despite all of the rivalries one forms against another person, at the end of every game, we still root for our players and for our team. We’re family.

My former teacher Jaime Richards discussed this lesson in class one fine spring day about a year and a half ago as he proudly displays a photo of two girls he knew very well who played for my high school softball team on his laptop screen.

He emphasized what it meant to not let athletic rivalries and pointing fingers get in the way of forming beautiful friendships. To paraphrase Jaime’s speech that day, the girls play hard and train hard, but win or lose they still stick together.

That’s the message I remember and cherish so well when I hear the President’s message. Win or lose, we’re still in this together.

This isn’t the first time he’s said something similar along these lines but man, to imagine how far he himself as a person first and a politician second has come—it’s so gratifying to know Barack Obama has persevered through the obstacles he has also encountered before in his life.

I can also barely imagine what it must have been like to have been elected President just four years ago—in a time of drastic economic recession. Obama, however, does practice what he preaches and he is on a quest to finishing his mission.

On this day, we can choose between a person who leads and a person who follows; a person who has his head in the game and a person who aspires to be someone great and legendary.

I have made my choice, and my choice is clear.

Now I want all of you to make yours. We only have one shot at this, and before you even know it, it’s going to vanish.

So why not seize that opportunity now? Literally, go carpe diem here folks!

Get out there to the polls and vote today, make it count, and be proud that you will be making history in the process.

I also pray that whosoever takes the inauguration oath in Washington come January 2013 will promise to lead our nation with higher expectations and create a brighter future for all of us.

Thank you, God bless you and God bless the United States of America!