The destiny that led us westward has not yet abated. It is what brought this country to touch two oceans. It is what drove the great movements of each generation. What was once held in so few hands is now held in so many.
The fruit of our labor goes unpicked in the mountains. Under the stones, the worms crawl blindly, eating dust. The door to freedom remains unopened behind the drawn curtain and slatted blinds.
The product of 100 years stems from a single moment, as one who looks from a mountaintop at all the nations of this earth.
This is a moment:
Nov. 2, 2010. Doors will be opened and slammed. Cars will race by. Ring Road will likely have a few booths. Someone will yell out, “Get your boba! $2 boba!” Most will walk swiftly by, having better things to do than to buy boba on their way to class, but a few will stop and savor some sweetness in the afternoon.
Perhaps it began in 1848 with the rumor of a promise. A rich land lay in that golden west beyond the sunset; the proverbial land of milk and honey. Thousands flocked immediately, millions more followed in search of that dream. Towns swelled into cities. Metropolises sprawled in the desert and the legend lingered in the soft sweet scent of sagebrush in the mountains, in that golden ribbon that follows the sun as it sets beneath the waves.
This university was founded along that same promise, that some form of higher education should be available to everyone, that nobody should have to go through life ignorant, trapped in the darkness of their minds. But as all promises that travel along the wind, it was easily drowned out by the squabbling of legislators, by the roar of cars and by the passing of time.
So how do we revive the dying promise of the land, how do we begin to whisper again?
On Nov. 2, the conversation will be opened for all to give their opinion on who should lead this great state, a politician or a business woman on the legality of a certain plant, on the drawing of congressional districts, on our emission of gasses into the atmosphere, on what taxes to levy upon ourselves, on who should represent us in Washington D.C. — the same woman who’s been there since 1993, or a fresh face.
But what will happen if no one speaks up? What happens if the ballots go uncast?
Every moment is a window on all time, and whether or not we plant the seeds of our destruction, or we prepare to harvest sweet, golden fruit for the next hundred years hangs suspended in the seconds we spend or do not spend on Nov. 2. We have been given mouths to speak, ears to hear and eyes to see, but if we do not use them then the point of living is surely lost; for if we sit idly by, then the same people who raise our fees, cut jobs, raise taxes, drive out businesses and usurp funds will continue to drive us toward a cliff and plunge us headlong into the sea.
The responsibility has been dealt down to the last one of us who lives and breathes on this campus to have a voice and exercise our right to an opinion. The pages of history are not written in the dark recesses of the mind, but in the light of the present. What will they read 100 years from now about what the students of California did on Nov. 2, 2010? Will they tell of a fading light and a whispered promise carried away by the western wind, or of a fruitful green country between the mountains and the sea?
Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, year and major.