Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois won last Thursday’s mock Democratic primary with 69 percent of the vote, and it is with great enthusiasm that the College Democrats endorse his candidacy for President of the United States. The Democratic Party must now coalesce around one candidate – the one with the most delegates, contests won and the popular vote – and focus on defeating Sen. John McCain, who essentially represents a third term of George W. Bush.
A Democrat should win the presidency handily this year due to the dismal incompetence of the current administration, but the continued back-and-forth of the primaries are hurting our party and our eventual nominee.
Obama’s commanding victory on Thursday demonstrates a clear trend this election season: He has a profound ability to energize and invigorate a younger generation of Americans by making them feel, often for the first time, that they actually have a stake in our electoral process. Young people across the country have connected with Obama’s message and style of communication, which is grounded in straightforwardness, candor and pragmatism regardless of political consequences.
In one striking example, he has spoken honestly about his youthful drug use. Rather than automatically dismiss the subject as a black-and-white, just-say-no conversation-ender, Obama refreshingly acknowledged reality and used the issue to relate to what young people are actually going through. He speaks with the nuance so desperately needed in such a complex society, but so often neglected for political expediency.
At a critical time in our history, Obama had the foresight and judgment to oppose the Iraq War before it began, saying in 2002, “I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”
At a time when so many, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, were caught up in the hysterics of a brash and absurd rush to military action, Obama stood for restraint and reason. On the most important foreign policy decision in a generation, Obama was right and Clinton was wrong.
Obama’s character has attracted so many – young and old, black and white – to invest in his strength, wisdom and ability to lead our country in a fundamentally new direction: Away from the divisive and tired politics that have so poisoned our discourse and toward a new national unity facilitated by a common goal to make a better America, an America that once again honors and cares for its most vulnerable citizens, an America that is once again respected throughout the world as a promoter of what is good about the human spirit. Indeed, Obama embodies that spirit.
It is telling that Obama’s most contentious and potentially damaging moment thus far has come when clips of his former reverend making several incendiary remarks at the pulpit surfaced.
Obama could have simply thrown the pastor under the bus, as politicians have traditionally done with bothersome associates. But he instead used the occasion to make a remarkably honest and unequivocal speech about race in America titled “A More Perfect Union,” tying in the Civil Rights era rhetoric of his black former reverend to the hateful racial rhetoric of his own white grandmother, and looked ahead to a new day ushered in by a generation much less interested in the color of one’s skin.
Obama was inclusive and open about an often uncomfortable topic, and it is this honesty that Americans have been craving – a desire to be spoken to like adults, rather than having to sit through the typical catchphrases and sound-bites normally lobbed at us by baby-kissers spouting very little of substance.
Sen. Hillary Clinton has proved to be a capable person. But she has also confirmed by her often-questionable campaign tactics that she represents more of the same – more bitterness, more old-style politics.
The 90s may have been a time of growth and prosperity, but it is time to start anew. It is time to recognize the excitement building across our country. It is time to take a great leap into an era of hope and aspiration. It is time for Obama.