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Harris Rosado:
2009 Winner
CCC Amalgamated Warbasse Houses

Harris Rosado

Winning Essay

When you think of the term “national icon”, what usually comes to mind these days? Quite possibly a sports star, a movie star, someone who gives idiotic dance instructions over an obnoxiously bassy hip-hop beat or a president. Wait, a president? It may seem hard to believe that there once was a time in American history that the President of the United States was in fact a national icon (not as the butt of jokes) and in many cases was held in high social esteem as a national hero. Politicians, especially presidents, for the past 40 years have generally been viewed through a lowly public spectacle until this past presidential election of 2008.

There are a few reasons why this past election sparked so much national interest. For one, this election was a pioneer election in the sense that the idea of minorities in the white house had the chance to actually become a reality. Barack Obama as we all know is an African-American and his election, let alone how long his campaign lasted, said a great deal about how far we have come as a country and as a society. The idea that a black man could be Head of State excited not only black people in America, but people of all races around the world because it demonstrated a break in glass ceiling of American politics and truly showed people around the world that anything is possible. And not only was there a black man that had the chance to make it, there were two women that were serious candidates in the running. This past election had a pluralistic candidate pool that is unparalleled throughout history that drew the attention of millions.

I believe another reason why this past election packed so much energy was of the years preceding them, which were, for lack of a better word, turbulent. The national approval rating of President Bush and his term in office was phenomenally low, we are stuck in a war in which we are basically falling down an up escalator and a we have slew of problems in our own country; turbulent might just be an understatement. The people of the USA were tired of not being proud of their country’s actions and image and decided that it was a time for change. Regardless of Barack Obama’s campaign theme of “change” and hope, the American people just wanted the monstrosity of the previous term to end. The general constituency of our country jumped out of their socks when there was an opportunity for change in our nation and this contributed to our country’s buzz over this past election.

On top of our countries governmental issues that made our nation crazy for change was an intertwining dilemma, the economy. With all the hype surrounding the recent recession, America was eager too choose a new leader who could possibly solve these hard economic times. People paid close attention to the candidate’s economic policies and plans for the future because most of America was feeling pain in their pocket and they were looking for a good remedy, if there was one.

The media was also a huge catalyst in the election of 2008. Candidates reached out to voters and potential voters through all different types of media such as TV, the internet, newspapers, billboards and telephones. Journalists and writers constantly wrote about different aspects of the election, most of which stirred the nation into paying even closer attention since this election was all around us. Barack Obama used the media as a valuable tool and many believe that it helped him win the election. Obama rented out half hour TV blocks and advertised uniquely through frequently visited websites such as Facebook. Through the media, Obama captivated a good majority of the youth vote, a successful strategy that paid off in the long run.

I personally would say that I was pretty involved in the 2008 presidential election. I took a great deal of interest in this election from the start of the party primaries. I would constantly do research online and watch debates to make sure I stayed educated and well informed on the candidates and the world around me. I took pride in being able to hold a discussion about politics with my older relatives at family dinners and sometimes made them look at me like “wow, how does he know all this?”

Unfortunately, despite my interest in the election, I was too young to vote by one measly year. I did not want to simply accept my exclusion from participation in history so I decided I should do something about it. Luckily, I am an active leader in the Bnai’ Brith Youth Organization, a host and creator for This website helps teens just like me, regardless of creed, political belief, race or gender voice their opinions on important topics facing our world and country today. Once your “2 cents” is given in, it is then visible to teens all over the world and you have the option through the site to mail it to any one of the candidates. I was a frequent user of the site and ran multiple programs and spoke to different audiences in the Bnai’ Brith Youth Organization advocating the use of this wonderful website.

Although Barack Obama is an extremely unique individual, many aspects of his presidency remind me of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The first similarity that comes to mind would have to be the their background situations. Both presidents dealt/are dealing with tough times that they have entered in, left by previous presidents and both were leading during times of war and economic downturn. Obama is also a brilliant public speaker and enjoys speaking frequently as did FDR, who delivered the famous “fireside chats” Barack Obama, just like FDR was, is generally viewed as the “people’s president”, someone who is there for the people and has a generally positive consensus throughout the country. Barack Obama is also taking action very quickly and plans to remain doing so, much like FDR and his numerous plans and acts that were set up such as the New Deal.

Overall, I think we will be able to look back at Barack Obama’s term or terms as president and say that they were successful. Barack Obama is working for a capitalistic and free market economy, which I believe works best for this country because it creates the competition necessary for motivation. Obama recognizes that we are in economic turmoil so, much like FDR, is putting stimulus plans into play in an effort to pump money back into the general public and encourages people to spend. Obama understands the general rules of economics and knows that spending is what will keep this economy running.

The housing crisis is also another tribulation our country is facing and is not getting any better. Obama recognizes the need to help homeowners facing foreclosure and plans on instituting a stimulus plan specifically for the mortgage crisis and the “credit crunch”. A major problem with housing and even credit in general is that loans are being made to people who cannot pay them back which in the long run hurts everyone. Barack Obama should be more conscious of this if he wants to be successful.

Obama has a very active standpoint when it comes to earthly and natural issues. He believes that we should balance working towards fuel independency from other countries and moving towards other, less common but better fuel mechanisms. I agree with him totally but I do not think that our country is willing to give up its obsession with gas, which is eating us from the inside out. He also believes that global warming is man made and we can make our own efforts to slow it down. This is true but it will take a great deal of work from the American people to make it successful.

In terms of the security of our country, I think Obama is a great diplomat and will do his best, like any president should, to protect our country. Obama is already generally well liked around the world due to his groundbreaking election. He is also a rational thinker and I trust him with the security of our nation in his hands. Even though things are in his hands, I believe he also would know when to ask for help from top generals and strategists, regardless of their walk of politics. His open mind, rational thinking and our country’s safety a priority in his mind, I think Obama will be successful when it comes to our safety and the war we are in.

Other issues bubbling on the home front, such as immigration and health care, are two sensitive topics that Barack Obama must address with an open mind in order to be successful. Obama is opposed to illegal immigration, but wants there to be an earned pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which provides a good balance between both sides of the argument. Obama does believe in national health care and believes it should be a right granted to every citizen. I wholeheartedly agree and would love to see that happen, but I think most of the American public is not crazy about the idea of raising taxes for it or even such a drastic change so soon. Public health care may not be reached within his term or terms in office, but I think steps in the right direction will be made.

For more than forty years, our country has not been excited about a presidential election. 2008 sparked something different in our country, a ray of light, and a breath of hope. I wish the 44th President Barack Obama the best of luck in his years of office, for our countries sake.


We would like to wish Harris Rosado the best of luck moving on to SUNY Buffalo. Congratulations!

My name is Harris Rosado and I was asked to write a descriptive article about the one person who follows me around where ever I go, myself. I complied willingly because I know the guy pretty well and I have a few spare hours to introduce myself to you.

I share many common interests with my peers such as spending time with my friends, playing sports and having fun with whatever I can. I douse myself in music and believe that the creation, playing and sharing of music is a great representation of the soul. I also enjoy learning new things and bettering myself at any given opportunity I would like to do many things with my life as I get older. Most importantly I’d like to benefit and help others around me as much as possible on any scale. In whatever I am hopefully successful in, I hope to use a good portion of what I make to fund many philanthropic ideas and goals I have. Next year, I will be attending the University at Buffalo with a Pre-Health focus and majoring in Business and minoring in music. Overall, my main goal in life is to be happy.

I am honored to have won this scholarship from this wonderful foundation.


Throughout my 4 years of leadership in the Bnai Brith Youth Organization, I have conducted and taken part in numerous services programs and projects such as food and clothing drives, volunteer work at homeless shelters and elderly centers, counselor to autistic children in both basketball and soccer, fundraising for various causes such as families of 9/11 victims, the march of dimes, juvenile diabetes, AIDS and various cancers. I also volunteer my time at my old junior high school for a few hours a week.

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