The Crossroads

Guest: Veronica De La Garza, Executive Director, Youth Vote Coalition In the introduction to the inauguration week discussion, Richard presents one of the challenges facing us is where to begin. The bigger challenge is how do we continue? The first line in the next chapter of America's story lies in our hands, what did the public leadership of this country do with the unprecedented number of American's that voted in November 2004?

No one could have predicted four years ago the events that have transpired in our country. With one single event, 9-11, America united and received the World's condolences and love. Our response to the attacks of 9-11 not only created ill will and hate towards the U.S.A. but it also divided the short unity that existed among its' citizens. Election 2004 brought out many emotions but the most amazing result was the high turnout of voters. Old and young, new voters and frequent voters, Democrats, Independents and Republicans stood in line and showed the country and the public leaders that they cared. As public leaders we begged, we implored this Country to vote and they did. But now it is our job to make sure that we build on the "enduring spirit of King and Lincoln." Not only do we need to start a "chapter of America's story, one in which people can see, hear and feel themselves once more" but we need to make sure they can see, hear and feel others once more.

We are in a crossroads, we can retreat or we can fight to make this a Government and a Country of, by and for the People. If we succeed it will be because the public leaders continued the spirit and work, if we fail it will be because we allowed each other to fail.