If you are on Facebook at all, you cannot miss all the jokes about the president’s “you didn’t build that” comment taken out-of-context for the Romney campaign. It really makes me feel bad. Allow me to explain why. I received an Associate of Arts degree in May 2010. Since I was the president of the Beta Beta Omega Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and the “Cossatot Chronicle” editor, I was asked to write and deliver a speech on behalf of the graduates and I did so. My speech centered on a motto that I suggested for my high school senior class. The motto represents an idea that life is much more than just existing, it is about growing, learning and achieving dreams. It was also my Dad’s senior class motto in 1951 and I thought it best expressed an idea for those of us who were graduating. The motto reads, “Life is accomplishment, not mere existence.”
Considering that one idea, I built an entire speech on the way none of us accomplishes anything alone. I recognized the faculty members, families and friends who helped us along the way. I do not know of anyone who can say, “I did this all alone.” Somewhere along the path, someone helped. I could not have accomplished all that I have in college without the help of others. Each time I do well on a test or submit an outstanding literary analysis, I think of the people who contributed to that accomplishment. It certainly is not my achievement alone. If I make it to point in which I earn a B.S. degree and further, even to the point of PhD, I will not be thinking, “I did this alone,” I will be thinking, “Thank you to everyone who stood by my side and helped me reach this point.” I will especially be thinking of my husband because were it not for his encouragement and sacrifices, I would never have even given college a shot.
Perhaps it is amusing to some and downright infuriating to others that President Obama used this idea to make a point, but I completely understand what he was trying to say because I tried to make the same point in 2010, a little differently, but same concept. Seeing all the jokes makes me feel somewhat foolish and perhaps many believed my speech to be stupid, but it was a proud moment for me. Perhaps some people do believe that when he or she does something or builds something, it is solely his or her accomplishment, I do not. I think it takes many people to build a dream and I will always be willing to recognize that. I have not accomplished anything alone, have you?