It’s your big day, America! The test you’re about to take will decide whether you go on to be a contributing member of society, or a burden.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? The perpetual problem child who steals Grandma’s heirloom pearls to feed his habit? The one who’s repeatedly lied and made so many hollow promises that no one even listens anymore? Undependable, underhanded and amoral? The black sheep of the family?

Or do you want to be accomplished, respected and admired? Do you want people to listen to what you have to say? Do you want to be a player in the big board game of life?

You’ve had your fun, and now it’s time to get serious. We all understand that adolescence is a turbulent time, characterized by selfishness and excess. But it’s time to evolve, to make that transition into adulthood. The party’s over.

If you elect John McCain, America is history. It will be proof that the culture has declined to such a degree that it won’t be capable of facing the challenges of the future and, worse, that it lacks the will to do so. It will signal the end. You will be left in the rest of the world’s dust.

If you elect Obama, America stands a chance, albeit a slim one. Don’t be fooled into believing that that act alone will be enough to salvage what was once the greatest democracy on earth. Or that that man can do it for you. But it will show that there are still enough Americans who are aware and who care. Barely enough, if the polls are too be believed. There will be more, much more, work to be done. But we grownups don’t shrink from a challenge.

Good luck on the test, America.