We endorsed President Barack Obama as a candidate because we feel he has earned a second term. He exhibited the leadership qualities necessary to address the pressing policy issues facing the United States today. However, this victory represents more than a vote of confidence in his executive leadership — it is also a challenge to follow through on the promises he made. Today, Americans expect more.
Obama made significant strides in his first four years in office. Among other things, he level-headedly prevented financial disaster and has been managing a slow but sure economic recovery. He passed historic health care legislation and has done much to repair American foreign policy.
However, there are many areas in which Obama has yet to follow through on his campaign promises from 2008. His proposals for education reform have yet to translate into policy decisions and legislation — meanwhile, America continues to fall behind in K-12 standards, and student loan debt continues to grow exponentially. Obama has said himself that quality, affordable education is a pathway to innovation and competition in the global economy. Everyone knows, at present, American education is unsustainable. What is unclear is whether politicians in Washington can agree upon a plan to improve it.
When Obama entered office, American foreign policy was broken. His administration has vastly improved diplomatic relationships around the globe. At the same time, we remain embroiled in a stagnant war in Afghanistan, the Middle East has become increasingly unstable and America’s relationship with China must be dealt with. In the next four years, we would like to see Obama prove he is deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize and work for global peace and prosperity in collaboration with our allies around the world.
Obviously, Obama has found little support among congressional Republicans, and this has hindered his ability to pass legislation. The political gridlock in Washington has been a colossal disappointment to the American people — polarization and needlessly partisan politics have been constant roadblocks to any sort of meaningful reform. However, Republicans are not solely to blame for a paralyzed Congress. Obama appeared to give up on the idea of bipartisan compromise after a few months in office and has shown little interest in working across the aisle.
Yes, his political opposition was incredibly un-helpful during his first term in office — but it is Obama’s responsibility to work with Republicans to get things done. America does not need purely Democratic policies, and it does not need Republican policy, either. The truth of the matter is America is both red and blue, and the problems it faces are independent of political affiliation.
The problems America faces today are neither new nor unprecedented, but the historical context in which we face them is unique to this generation. We need a federal government that is not handcuffed by party politics, a government that will not stand by the status quo and kick these problems down the road but instead will deliver meaningful solutions that look beyond party lines.
We feel Obama is up to the task, and under his administration America is moving forward.