I was very lucky to be chosen for the United States Senate Youth Program. When we headed into the White House to listen to President Obama speak, we were unsure of what was going to happen. There were deep partisan divides within our own group, and we were unsure about how to remedy this.
Obama gave us a stark reminder that we have to overcome these differences, describing the relationship between Congress and himself as “toxic.” He noted that we also have to stay strong to our values, telling that “Bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship is often not effective.”
This is difficult, but we must stay optimistic. We need to keep an optimistic perspective about how the world keeps improving. In the words of the president, we “…live in a time that is healthier, wealthier, more educated, more tolerant, less violent, and more accepting of each other’s differences than ever before.”
We also decided to ask the leader of the free world for some career advice. Obama replied candidly, “Don’t focus on what you want to be; focus on what you want to do.”
I’m not completely sure of what I want to do yet–hopefully something in the field of history or politics–but I’m sure that I want to do everything with a sense of optimism.