“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ~Barack Obama
Tomorrow marks the official beginning of another crazy presidential election season. The politically interested and pundits have their eyes on the Republican caucuses taking place in Iowa tomorrow night. While I am mildly intrigued by the outcome, the reality is no one participating in this contest is someone I want to see becoming our next president. Putting aside the obvious reasons, (they are who I thought they are) I want to focus on why I will be supporting their opponent and current United States President, Barack Obama. While he has not been perfect, and there are plenty of criticisms one could level from either side of aisle, I still support him above everyone else for a number of reasons.
He is who I thought he was. A great deal has been made about how Obama has not lived up to expectations. Which, in some ways is true. Especially, for those who actually believed he had Messianic powers and was going to to fix all of the country’s problems alone. However, for those of us who actually listened to the things he said, either on the campaign trail or in his book, Audacity of Hope, Obama the candidate is not too far from Obama the President. He never portended to be the magical cure to all ailing the country. In his speeches on the campaign trail he often spoke of the need for the people to move this country forward, probably most prevalent in the slogan “Yes We Can.” This belief that it is up to the people, the voters and the congress, to move this country forward is what initially drew me to support our current president, and in this, I feel he has stayed true.
A great deal has been accomplished under his leadership. Simply put, he’s got the job done. Love or hate him, a great many things have been done by this president. A comprehensive, albeit controversial, healthcare reform package was passed under his leadership. A complete economic meltdown was avoided, thank to a stimulus package he strongly advocated for. One of the world’s leading terrorists was brought to justice during his stead as commander in chief. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a discriminatory military practice that should have ended years ago was finally put to rest. The list goes on and on. While there are plenty of people out there who will probably consider many of these accomplishments catastrophes that are moving this country in the wrong direction, I would strongly disagree with that assessment. However, that is another discussion entirely.
The coming years will require a steady hand. In light of turmoil around the world it is important we have a pragmatic idealist steering the American ship. Obama fits this bill in many ways. In fact, a common criticism he has received is that he has been too cool. Not showing the passion and emotion needed to inspire the American people in the way he did on the campaign trail. While I do agree some amount of passion is needed, I believe this ability to remain cool under pressure is one of the president’s greatest assets. In recent, years the political arena has become an emotionally charged place ripe for the overblown conflict that has turned off so many Americans to the government. Obama has shown his desire to transcend this needless partisan bickering in an attempt to actually govern. While this has been met with mixed results, and is not always the best way to get things done, it is this philosophy of building consensus among the American people that makes him best suited for the challenges our nation faces.
Do I believe Barack Obama is the perfect candidate for the job of president? No. However, looking at the field of candidates, I believe he is our best option for the upcoming election. Obama’s authenticity, ability to get the job done, and coolness under pressure encourage this conviction. The job of president is an increasingly difficult role to fill. The imperfections of humanity and the diverse viewpoints we as a nation share, make it impossible to elect a capable president everyone will love. To paraphrase the 44th United States President, I guess we’ll just have to be the change we believe in.