The United States has reached the one-year milestone in President Barack Obama’s first term in office. The U.S. has changed rapidly in the past year, weathering the ill effects of the economic crisis. Our nation has been polarized by the bitter partisan struggles over health care reform, cap-and-trade energy proposals and massive stimulus spending — all initiatives long-awaited and hoped for by liberals and generally disdained by conservatives. We have faced tragedy at Fort Hood and threats on Christmas from those who seek to destroy us and we continue the long fight in Afghanistan. Yet, we remain intact as a nation.

In his State of the Union address on Wednesday, Obama spoke of a “new direction” for our nation. While the College Republicans agree that a new direction is needed, there is a fundamental difference in the direction that we believe the nation should take.

Obama outlined numerous proposals for an increased role for the federal government in virtually every sector of American life in his address. We, on the other hand, believe that the best thing the government can do to restore the economy and end excessive unemployment is to get out of the way. Limited government and greater personal freedom will lead to new initiatives from small business owners, and a greater ability for people to decide how to spend their own money instead of the government spending it for them. The free market has been the greatest engine for opportunity in human history and has built this country into the beacon we see today. And in America, anyone who applies him or herself and works hard can fulfill his or her dream.

Unfortunately, Obama chose to coat his true intentions in the language of fiscal responsibility. Nothing could be further from the truth. If actions speak louder than words, then the massive and reckless spending of Washington during the past year put this president on record as the most fiscally irresponsible president that this nation has ever had, surpassing even George W. Bush in deficit spending. This blatant misleading of the American people cannot be tolerated. As young Americans, we must understand the impact such massive debts will have on our generation and our standard of living. We deserve better from our president.

The radical Left and its agenda was dealt a decisive blow with the election of Scott Brown (R–Mass.) to the U.S. Senate and the loss of the Democrat supermajority. America was angry, and we expressed our anger in Massachusetts last week. Now it’s time for the Democrats to listen. If that means going back to the drawing board on health care reform, then so be it.

The Obama administration must also show itself to be a formidable force when dealing with matters of national security. The attempted Christmas Day bombing on a Detroit-bound flight chillingly highlighted this. It’s time for the administration to stop using our tax dollars to defend terrorists in our court system and instead use it to fight them abroad. There should be no greater interest than the safety and security of American citizens, and our efforts to gather information from enemy combatants and use it to save American lives must reflect that.

We are less than enthusiastic about some of Obama’s missteps in his first year. And voters feel the same way. On three separate occasions — in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts — they have sent a clear message to the president that our nation cannot and will not be governed from the far Left. We may not have voted for him, but Obama is our president. We hope that the president will correct his course and become the moderate leader that inspired so many on the campaign trail.

Nevertheless, we should be proud of our nation and the historic days in which we live. As Obama stated on Wednesday, we can’t settle for second place. We are the greatest country on Earth thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of those who came before us. In spite of threats from abroad, economic hardship and government corruption, we stand strong as a union. America’s best days are ahead of us.

This viewpoint was written by Brian Koziara and Charles Bogren on behalf of the University’s chapter of the College Republicans.

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