A long line of stopped vehicles extends to the end of the road. Thousands of people, including me, are prisoned in their cars and stuck on the way home. But it's not a traffic jam.
We wait here because of the tacit rule that in China leaders pass first, because the first carrier is going to sea; our president Hu is driving to the port to witness her maiden voyage, and then deliver another speech on the rise of our country.
Hurrah! However, it's somewhat weird to claim that China has risen. Right now, 700,000 people in Yunnan has just suffered from an earthquake and want of relief suppies. A farmer was shot because he defended his farm from bulldozers with a gasoline can. And many people's cars are smashed, their houses burned, and their bodies inviolated in the rogue Anti-Japanese demonstration, because police stand on the sideline. But all of these are eclipsed by the carrier. All are scanty and subordinate to the greater interest of the nation, just as we thousands wait here for hours to let a leader pass first.
Some call that loyalty, some call that unity, but to me, it is a downright wrong. My realization was gradual and irreversible. It occurred when I started to read Declaration of Independence and Civil Disobedience, when I disappointedly found that Facebook was shut down in China for 'harmony', and when my articles sent to our school magazine were trashed because they were 'patriotic' enough. Disappointed by what I experienced, I looked out of my small world, and I saw more disappointment. Then something in me crystalized and resolved into a steel goal: I love my country, so let me challenge and change it.
It is a grandiose goal for a teenager who is still bothering with SATs. But that doesn't justify inaction. I try to do the things within my reach step by step.
Every night I listen to VOA for news and every week I read The Economist and Time for comments, for ignorance is as deleterious as indifference.
When the teacher in Politics class praise the whitewashed status quo and overriding interest of the state, I dispute the misleading view and unveil its perils.
Last summer I attended the largest march in Chinese mainland in this decade. When I waved the banner, shouted the slogan, and saw the police with batons and cameras overwhelmed by the mass, I suddenly learnt what is the real loyalty and unity, namely, the loyalty to civil interest, the unity of civil efforts. People don't lack courage; they just lack someone to take the lead.
Thus the dream of being a politician roots in my mind. Politics is peculiar: it comes from the rarefied world of lofty values, but ends as an effective tool changing the course of secular society. Our country has many cancers, among which is the disrespect for individual rights. I learn politics not to build more carriers of destroyers and bombers, but carriers of people's wellbeing, freedom, and dignity.
Someone honks his horn. Echoes follow. In a second, the whole road is flooded in roar. Patient and determined, I smile with a head cool and a heart hot. Long as the journey is, I see the Promised Land.