The past four years have been trying times for many Americans, to say the least.
Since Barack Obama’s inauguration as the nation’s 44th President back in January of 2009, the country has faced a number of tremendous challenges.
The housing market collapse of 2008 brought about the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, along with the loss of millions of American jobs. Oil prices continue to fluctuate, and the subject of energy independence has been thrust toward national spotlight more dramatically than ever. And while the Arab Spring has brought about a new era of democracy to many nations in the Middle East, the region is as volatile as ever, as highlighted by the recent attack in Benghazi, which cost the lives of Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
With such challenges both home and abroad, this year’s presidential election is one of the most pivotal contests in recent history.
The decision in front of voters is hardly an easy one either, as both Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have presented compelling cases to the American public as to why they are the best man to take the helm as the country charts its course across such perilous waters.
Throughout his previous four years in office, President Obama has demonstrated that his brand of leadership is exactly what the American people needs navigating, and for that reason he deserves a second term as Commander in Chief.
Make no mistake about it: Obama’s track record as president has been far from ideal, and has been marred with broken promises to the men and women who voted him into the office back in 2008.
Unemployment in the country is still sky high, with the last jobs report showing an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent. While below the highest numbers seen during his administration, these numbers are still above the 5 percent rate seen when Obama took over the office from George W. Bush back in 2008.
The Democrat has also failed to act on his prior campaign promise to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, where hundreds of suspected terrorists continue to be held without formal charges under the US legal system. In addition, the President has continued to authorize revisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows for US citizens to be held indefinitely as “enemy combatants.”
However, the victories of the current administration outweigh their failures.
Inheriting an economy that was in complete ruin, the President immediately went to work salvaging what jobs he could.
- Under his leadership, General Motors and Chrysler were able to remain afloat after receiving $80 billion in federal loans, saving thousands of jobs both in Detroit and around the nation.
- Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law in 2009, which provided nearly $1 trillion in tax breaks, infrastructural investments, aid money and other provisions to help revive the country’s economy and job markets.
- The cornerstone of the current administration’s domestic policy has been the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” in 2010. While other presidents had tried their hands at repairing the US’ rapidly failing healthcare system, Obama and his allies in Congress were the only ones with the vision and mettle to finally get a solution in place.
The ACA has provided some immediate benefits to Americans, such as protection from denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions and the ability for college students to remain on their parents healthcare plans until they turn 26. Once the reforms are fully enacted by 2014, millions of Americans will be able to get access to low-cost health insurance plans, ones that would have once been out of reach.
In addition to these changes in policy, “Obamacare” actually helps reshape the American healthcare mindset, moving away from the current system focused on curing illnesses to one that places more attention on preventing them.
The President has done a remarkable job as America’s commander in chief, demonstrating his abilities as both a capable diplomat and a firm leader of the country’s armed services. Almost immediately, Obama set out to repair our nation’s reputation among our allies around the globe, repairing eight years of damage caused by Bush’s unilateral, “with us or against us” method of diplomacy.
- Obama also successfully took over two major wars from the outgoing administration, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Four years later, American soldiers have come finally come home from the former, and are scheduled to leave the latter by 2014.
- Finally, and most importantly, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, was found and killed by US special forces in May of last year, ending a nearly 10 year manhunt for the al-Qaida leader.
- One area where the President deserves special praise, though, is for his support of gay and lesbian rights. In addition to his repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which finally allows openly gay and lesbians to serve in the US military, Obama is the first sitting president to announcement his support for same-sex marriage.
While Romney has run an effective campaign, his message to the American electorate has been focused on the shortcomings of the sitting president rather than on his own strengths. Many of the Republican’s own ideas on how the nation should be governed have been nebulous at best, with the candidate unable to elucidate them in sufficient detail when pressed during the three presidential debates earlier this month.
More broadly speaking, though, Romney’s general philosophy of “smaller government, larger private sector” echoes the mindset behind the policies that led to very economic meltdown that the country is struggling to recover from. While both Romney and Obama have spoke of strengthening the middle class, only the latter’s policies appear to have a realistic change of achieving this goal.
These are indeed trying times, no doubt about that. But President Obama has charted the right route toward improving our nation’s future.
Let’s not turn back now.