On Tuesday, Feb. 5, Democrats in 22 states, including Massachusetts, will go to the polls to select the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States. We hope they select Sen. Barack H. Obama. He has won our unmitigated support because he has the experience, policy proposals, and vision required not only to be president, but to fundamentally alter the way our broken political system functions.
Obama has committed his life to furthering the public good. From starting as a community organizer, to working as a constitutional lawyer and law professor, to serving as a Ill. State Senator, and, finally, as an United States Senator, Obama has achieved before the age of fifty what many would aspire to do in a lifetime. The judgment and perspective he has acquired in these roles are qualities that are necessary in a leader, particularly at the highest levels of government, where elected officials are inundated with questions with profound and lasting repercussions.
On issues of substance, Obama has assembled an impressive array of policies that demonstrate careful thought about the immediate problems facing our country today and those that we will encounter in the long term. Although we do not agree with all of Obama’s proposals, every one of his plans is informed, carefully crafted, and thoughtfully considered.
Obama’s healthcare program, for instance, guarantees universal healthcare for minors but allows adults to choose whether they are covered. Although we believe that complete universal healthcare is an important policy for our country to aspire to, Obama’s plan reaches towards that goal. Its significant efforts to subsidize and provide and universal access to all Americans is unparalleled in the Democratic field, and, perhaps, represents the most pragmatic solution.
While all the major Democratic candidates propose changes in the tax code that will work to rollback tax cuts instituted by President George W. Bush, Obama’s proposals stand out because they are targeted to varied and specific populations that need relief the most. These include tax reform for the middle class, tax relief for the poor, universal mortgage credits, tax credits up to $4,000 for college students, and the elimination of income tax for senior citizens earning less than $50,000 per year. This type of targeted, creative relief is exactly what America needs.
Obama also has a practical approach to dealing with immigration. His proposals adhere to the basic formula we believe is best: reducing shoring up boarders and reducing the incentives to immigrate illegally while bringing undocumented workers already in the country out of the shadows with a demanding path to citizenship. While Obama is in favor of increasing border enforcement beyond what we feel is necessary—for instance he voted for a border fence—we recognize that limiting the flow of illegal immigrants is a political prerequisite to immigration reform. Finally, we support Obama’s commitment to expanding the number of high-skill immigrants to our country through to the H-1B visa program.
To help reduce carbon emissions and help fight climate change, Obama proposes a cap-and-trade system and the corresponding reduction of emissions to 80 percent below the 1990 levels by 2050. Vaulting the U.S. into a leadership position on climate change is a goal that should figure prominently in any presidential candidate’s decision-making. Obama has shown that he cares about the issue and will take it to the White House as a high priority if elected.
Obama cares deeply about education, and he has a holistic plan to reform the entire system, from infant healthcare through higher education. Highlights of his plan include reforming No Child Left Behind, addressing the high rate of dropouts, and quadrupling funding for Early Head Start programs that form the youngest generation of students. We believe Obama’s emphasis on increased funding for public education and his tax credit for higher education are prime steps to take in addressing our nation’s educational woes.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, we wholeheartedly support Obama’s opposition to the war in Iraq. Obama has consistently taken a stand against the war since its inception, and his commitment to bringing the troops home is commendable. Obama has the vision and know how to lead our nation out of the conflagration in Iraq as smoothly as possible and in a way that begins to restore our international standing and credibility.
Various critics have voiced concerns that Obama is too ambitious and inexperienced to be the next president of the United States. We disagree. Obama’s candidacy reflects a lack of political maneuvering and instead is based on a desire to see dramatic change in the political system. And what Sen. Obama might lack in political experience, he makes up with sound judgment, intelligence, charisma, and a personable and bipartisan demeanor. Furthermore, in office he will surround himself with some of the smartest and most experienced advisors in the world.
Obama represents an opportunity for a Democratic nominee who represents the value of service, intelligence, and judgment, and, most of all, an opportunity for real change, unburdened by favors owed and ideals lost. He deserves your vote.