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Winning Life’s Lottery

Winning Life’s Lottery
November 15, 2012 Ignacio Fiallos

You won life’s lottery if you were born in these United States of America. Given your great fortune, you can become anything you desire.

You can even become president.

Just look at whom we reelected as President this past week — Barack Obama. He came from a lower middle class family and was raised by a single mother. He was not born with a silver spoon or from a powerful political family. Barack Obama rose to the world’s most powerful position because he worked hard, used his smarts and was lucky enough to be born in the United States of America.

Not everyone is so fortunate.

Recently, I was traveling to Chicago and needed to take a cab to the hotel. Any time I travel by cab, I enjoy speaking to the taxi driver. Many drivers are from Haiti or Nigeria or a third-world country, and I enjoy listening to them speak about their country so I can get firsthand knowledge about what is happening there, both good and bad.

On the recent trip, my Chicago taxi driver was from the Middle East. He came from a poor village and left his country to come to college in Illinois on a student visa. But school was expensive and he had to drop out. He mentioned to me that at that time, he was not allowed to get student loans while on a student visa. He started driving a cab and has done this job for the last 26 years.

The cab driver was a bright, enthusiastic man who had the same gifts I was born with, but had the misfortune of not being born in the U.S. He did not win life’s lottery.

For whatever reason, I had the great fortune of being born in this great country. I received student loans (many of them) so I could finish college without working. I had the opportunity to go to graduate school and then become a professor at a great university (Austin Peay State University). Nothing was really different between the cabbie and me, only our birth places.

But let’s be real. Any individual born in the U.S. has a miniscule chance of becoming our future president. But with very hard work, some smarts and an education, the sky’s the limit. The door is wide open for anyone to become a teacher, doctor, lawyer, professor or business executive and have a wonderful life.

The reelection of Barack Obama reminds us of many great things about America: We truly live in the land of milk and honey, where your dreams can come true!


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