Guest Column: A ticket to ride

Bryan Staul

We’ve all been exposed to it: the inundation of campaign ads, the saturation of the 24-hour news networks and we’ve passed the conventions. Now we can get to the nitty gritty of the election. We’ll see more speeches, and the debates will follow. I ask you to humor me as I briefly contribute to the political noise that has become typical of modern political campaigns.

I’ll start off by stating I’m voting for the entire Democratic ticket. “Why?” you may ask. “Obama has done nothing,” you may say. Well, let me give you some numbers.

4.5 million: That’s the number of private sector jobs created since President Obama took office. 95 percent: That’s the amount of Americans who received a tax cut from the president’s recovery bill. 2 billion: That’s the number of barrels of oil produced in 2011, which is an eight-year high of domestic oil production. 150: That’s the number of gay officials appointed by the President, which is an all-time high. 36 million: That’s the number of Americans who will now have access to affordable and quality healthcare. Lastly, 0: That’s the number of Osama Bin Ladens alive.

This is just the abridged version. We’ve also ended the Iraq War, signed a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, signed major free trade agreements, saved the auto industry and ended health insurance discrimination for women and for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

None of this would have been possible without Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Tim Ryan. You would be hard pressed to find better champions for the middle class than those two men. On a more local level, we have state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, who has helped bring some much-needed attention toward draconian Republican efforts to drastically roll back the successful voting programs in Ohio such as early voting.

Are things in America picture perfect? No. But it is up to President Obama to fix what one of the worst presidents in American history left us with.

Unfortunately, modern Republicans are unrecognizable from their past leaders. Would Abraham Lincoln, who used federal power to build the Pacific railroad and open up millions of acres in land, win in a modern GOP primary? Would Theodore Roosevelt have a career after supporting universal health care and anti-trust laws? How about Dwight Eisenhower, who built the interstate system and put federal troops in states to defend civil rights?

Those of us in college would be the first to feel the pain under a President Romney. It would be open season on Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.

Don’t let anyone tell you the parties are the same. We have a distinct and clear choice in this race. We can move forward together, pull ourselves out of this slump and come out stronger. We can create the American Dream 2.0, or we can turn away from our neighbors and give in to division. In 2008, we voted for change; in 2012, let’s finish the job.

Bryan Staul is the president of the Kent State College Democrats.Contact Bryan Staul at [email protected].