Barack Obama, the mood for a change
Our generation of Americans loves Barack Obama. The ones who remember George W. Bush being elected as president for the first time in 2000 are now overwhelmingly ready for change. In the recent Iowa caucuses, young people showed up to voice their opinions and choose their candidate in groundbreaking numbers. Those numbers proved to benefit Obama tremendously – attendees under 30 voted 57 percent for Obama, compared to only 14 percent for Edwards and 11 percent for Clinton (CBSnews.com). One in five Democratic caucus goers were under 30 and 72 percent of the voters who voted for Obama were first-timers (huffintonpost.com).
What is it about this 47-year-old senator from Illinois that is making a usually apathetic, hard-to-get-out-and-vote group of Americans up and active? Many are attributing it to the message Obama has seemingly successfully nailed home: change. While Senator Hillary Clinton focuses on experience, Obama's fresh face, confidence, and idealism are a more powerful contrast to Clinton's familiarity with the White House and Edwards' populist appeal.
Perhaps another reason why Obama has received such a positive response is not because of what he has done, but more because of what he hasn't done. Frankly speaking, he hasn't messed up yet. Although his political record shows he voted in support of certain questionable bills, such as the Patriot Act, his record with the public while running for president is rather unflawed. Unlike the slew of politicians who keep getting heckled for their blunders that turn into 5 second sound bites, Obama has yet to make any comments that people find racist, sexist, classist, etcetera. His speeches, weaved in with the message of change, are strong and clear. His ability to speak eloquently and confidently leaves the next generation of will be doctors, lawyers, teachers, and politicians hopeful for the future.
Clinton, for example, was criticized in January 2006 for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech in which she told a mostly black audience at a Harlem church that Republican leaders have run the House of Representatives "like a plantation" (CNN.com) Also, Clinton's refusal to disclose officials records from her time as first lady, as well as the names of her donors, has made people wary and skeptical.
In May 2007, Edwards was accused of "trash[ing] the sacrifice, honor and glory of American soldiers" by urging his liberal supporters to use the Memorial Day weekend to protest the Iraq war (OneNewsNow.com). And in April 2007, Edwards, whose "Two Americas" speech on poverty and class disparities in the United States has become famous, spent $400 on a haircut that had people criticizing the senator for being hypocritical.
America is ready for change. Obama is the candidate who has most successfully brought this message to the forefront of this election. Now, it is up to the American public to decide who the best man, or woman, for the job is.
Foto: transplanted mountaineer