Our View: YES HE CAN

Many of us became adults on Sept. 11, 2001.

We were freshmen in high school or finishing up our final years of junior high. Life seemed less complicated. The world outside our hometowns mattered very little to how we lived our lives.

But when those planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pa., the generation pegged to be apathetic or unaware couldn’t afford to be disconnected any longer.

That was more than seven years ago. Since then, we’ve waged two mismanaged wars that have cost thousands of American lives and billions of our dollars. The middle class has continued to shrink. The economy has nearly folded. Our standing on the world stage has been severely crippled.


On Tuesday, we asked you to take a quiz from MyDebates.org

on how your personal take on the issues matched up with the candidates’ platforms. The editorial board considered the same issues and overwhelmingly voted in favor of Obama’s positions. Here is a rundown of where the Democratic candidate stands:

&bull 1 Abortion Uphold Roe v. Wade. Overturn the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

&bull 2 Education Oppose vouchers. Create federal grants to get more children into preschool. Give college students tuition tax credits up to $4,000 in exchange for community service. Make community college free.

&bull 3 Same-sex marriage Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Support civil unions for same-sex couples.

&bull 4 Health care Expand and reform public programs. Require employers to either provide health benefits or contribute to a public program. Mandate health coverage for children.

&bull 5 War in Iraq The use of military force in Iraq was unnecessary and troops should have been pulled out by now. Start pulling the troops out at a pace of one or two combat brigades a month. Have all combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.

&bull 6 Environment Subsidize more sustainable sources of energy. Introduce a Low Carbon Fuel Standard that would bring low-carbon, non-petroleum fuels to the marketplace more quickly. Export climate-friendly technology to developing nations.

&bull 7 Economy Focus on individuals. Stimulate growth with family-focused tax cuts and expanded unemployment insurance. Provide federal tax credits to those affected by the housing crisis.

Log on and take the entire quiz for yourself at MyDebates.org.

But for many of us, Nov. 4 is the first opportunity for us to voice who runs this great nation. Think about it. We’ve lived nearly a third of our lives with George W. Bush as president.

In his inaugural address, Bush promised to “work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.” Has he done so? Not by a long shot.

These last eight years have been some of the most divisive and trying years in our nation’s history. America’s leaders have employed scare tactics and deception to accomplish their own self interests, and we’re feeling the effects.

It’s time for a change.

We believe one person will listen and be a true representative of the American people regardless of race, age, gender or sexuality.

That man is Barack Obama.

The Democratic candidate has encouraged the American people to reflect on their own values and hope for a better future. Americans cannot afford to accept the status quo for another four years.

Obama has demonstrated his ability to inspire the American people. Obama’s experience surely doesn’t match his opponent’s, but it isn’t an issue when you look at what the Illinois senator has accomplished since his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

On that night, Obama asked the American people whether we should participate in politics of cynicism or politics of hope. He lit a flame in the American people that has only been fueled since he announced his candidacy for president. He has been able to build an inclusive grassroots effort and involve the American people in a democratic process many had shied away from in the past. Now that’s the politics of hope.

Has John McCain done this? Not a chance. If anything, he has disenfranchised more Americans from the political process by employing a campaign driven by deception, bigotry and fear-mongering. This is the same cynicism Obama warned us about in 2004.

We deserve a person who is collected, graceful and has the best interest of all Americans – not just his friends, supporters and cronies – at heart. We deserve an individual who, like Bobby Kennedy, will dream of things that never were and ask, “Why not?”

Newspaper endorsements may mean very little to you, especially considering this is one from a collegiate publication. But this election is too important to let the chance for an endorsement slip by.

We chose to endorse because we feel as if Obama has embraced our generation as no candidate has in the past. He understands we are the ones who will inherit this mess. Obama has targeted college-aged voters as one of his strongest support groups. This isn’t because we’re gullible but because he believes in our potential to lead this country.

This may be our first opportunity to vote for the presidency, but it also may be the most important election in which we’ll ever take part.

Admittedly, we’re a group of five of the most cynical students on this campus. To us, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the current climate in this country seems so grim.

Obama, however, has given us the hope that there is a brighter day ahead in America. We deserve a president of the people who will listen instead of preach, comfort instead of frighten and unite instead of divide.

The United States has been on the wrong path for the last eight years, and a Barack Obama presidency is our only opportunity for genuine change.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.