Over the past eight years our nation has been misgoverned and abused by George W. Bush. His administration’s policies have crippled our financial markets, left families to die in New Orleans, destroyed our nation’s image at home and abroad, shrouded our government in secrecy and started an unjustified war while ignoring the real war against terrorism.

It is at a crucial point in our nation’s history that we go to polls to elect the next president of the United States.

Today we have a chance to bring change to America. By electing Barack Obama, we are voting to empower America to restore itself. With the largest campaign in U.S. history, Obama has proven that he can bridge racial, religious, age and partisan lines. His support comes not only from liberal Democrats but also from working-class America, white America, black America, faithful America, rural America and urban America. In these difficult times, we need a leader who can bridge these divisions in our society to make hard choices for America.

On policy, Obama has consistently argued for a reasoned, intelligent agenda that restores hope in the American dream. Our economy is in shambles, and Obama understands the pain of the average American family. By cutting taxes and expanding health care, his policies are designed to lift up Main Street America, ensuring that our government is here to protect the people. The economic policies of the past eight years were fixated on cutting taxes and regulation for our society’s most wealthy. The American people deserve better from their government.

Obama understands that our national security is intrinsically linked to our standing in the world. We have squandered our international good will, leaving our nation unprotected. Our military adventure into Iraq has depleted our armed forces and created a wave of anti-American sentiment unrivaled in history. Meanwhile, we have ignored true security threats in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama advocates a foreign policy that promotes both international dialogue and American power to work with our global neighbors instead of against them.

When Obama spoke in front of 250,000 Germans in Berlin this summer, they waved American flags alongside German flags. Contrast this with the scenes of rioting and flag burning seen wherever President Bush travels. We need a president who represents the best of America, not the worst of America. A president who promises to continue the policies of the past eight years will continue to hurt our global image. Obama’s message of hope has transcended national boundaries.

John McCain had a chance to challenge Obama on the issues that matter to Americans. Instead, McCain’s campaign took the low road. While Obama was addressing the economy, McCain focused his entire campaign on character assassination and, in the process, has assassinated his own character. McCain is not the statesman we respected eight years ago. He assumed the worst of the American people. Now is the time to move past the tactics of fear that have plagued our national discussion for the past eight years. It is time to elect Barack Obama.

Obama built his campaign with the support of college students. Today is our day to have our voice heard and send him to the White House. Today you can prove that we have the ability to create change and make our choice known. By speaking together in one voice we can correct the mistakes of the last eight years, bring change and hope back to our government and change the course of history. Our moment is now – vote for Barack Obama.

This viewpoint was written on behalf of the University’s chapter of the College Democrats.

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