In 2008, America elected President Barack Obama, a hopeful, charismatic man who seemed to release a breath of fresh air into a country begging for change. At the beginning of his term, Obama promised just that — change — and plenty of it.
Now that we find ourselves only a year away from another presidential election, it seems that the media, along with many American citizens, have gone from hopeful to disappointed. Let’s face it — when we saw a young, fresh face after enduring a presidency that got us involved in two wars and a crashing economy, many looked at Obama as a savior for the nation, the person who could fix all of America’s problems. I’m sure that Obama believed this as well, and in the process, perhaps he bit off more than he could chew. The fact is, Obama has not fulfilled all of his promises to the nation yet. He did not conquer all of the problems that we hoped he would. Many citizens felt he hasn’t done “enough” yet, and I can’t help but feel that Obama’s huge accomplishments have been overshadowed.
Many strides have been made during Obama’s presidency. In regards to the military, Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda, was found and killed by a special elite force referred to as Seal Team 6. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a bill that prevented homosexual servicemen and service women from being open about their sexuality, was repealed after an 18-year run. As far as health care goes, though few people could understand the point of Obama’s health care reform, it achieved quite a bit. According to cbsnews.com, the reform measures expanded coverage to 32 million previously uninsured Americans and prevented insurance companies from turning away those with preexisting medical conditions.
Obama is also attempting to help America’s veterans. On Nov. 7, he announced the “Veteran Gold Card,” a service that provides a personalized job search for post 9/11 veterans, an online tool called, “My Next Move for Veterans,” which helps veterans find jobs that match their skill sets, and finally, the “Veterans Job Bank,” a program for which the government teamed up with top job search companies to connect veterans to job openings. These services for veterans will certainly come in handy when our troops return from Iraq in the coming weeks after eight years at war.
While all of these accomplishments are wonderful, you may be wondering what Obama is doing for your future. After all, life after college is supposed to entail starting a career, not starting unemployment. Obama presented the American Jobs Act to Congress in September. The president claims that this piece of legislature has backing from both parties and will create jobs for educators, construction workers and those who have been unemployed long-term. It will also provide a tax cut for small businesses that begin hiring new employees or give raises to current employees. Best of all, this bill, if passed, will provide a $1,500 tax cut to working-class families.
I will have the privilege to vote in the presidential election for the first time in 2012. With the Republican candidacy still up in the air, it is impossible to say if what he or she plans for the country will be better or worse than the plans of Obama. His or her merits will need to be taken into consideration once the Republican Party chooses a candidate.
I do believe that Obama will get re-elected in 2012. No, he did not do everything he promised he would do, and that is disappointing. He was handed a failing economy and while it is slowly improving, it is far from being healed. There is much work to be done.
To those who say Obama has not done enough, just remember this: instead of sending care packages filled with thank you cards over to the 39,000 troops in Iraq for the holidays, this year we can just thank them in person.
Freshman journalism and American studies major