This story was written by Editorial Board, Daily Illini
We know what you're going to say. Typical liberal media. Typical college media. Typical college student. But this election is too important for stereotypes, which is why we endorse the man that has defied stereotypes and has appealed to Democrats, Independents and yes, even lifelong Republicans. If Americans want to take a step forward, we must do so as a nation. Sen. Barack Obama is the man to unite this country so we can begin to repair it.
The past eight years have seen America damage its image across the world and its prosperity at home. The only way it will rise again will be through the leadership of the next president. Throughout the past 20 months, we have become convinced that Barack Obama is best suited to bring the change this country needs.
It's not that we don't respect his opponent. In February, we endorsed both candidates in the primary election. Sen. John McCain has served admirably in Congress since 1983 and valiantly during the Vietnam War, spending five years of his life as a POW.
Admittedly, a country led by McCain is far better off than what we've seen in the past eight years. But his decision to align himself with the same Republicans that have helped President Bush divide this country and name a running mate that is shockingly unprepared to face the challenges of the presidency shows judgment we just can't trust.
Despite his youth, we don't see Obama as a risk. It's not a leap of faith to think he can return this country, a once proud world leader, to its vaulted standing among the league of nations. That the international community has made its preference for Obama obvious is something Americans simply should not ignore, especially if we expect our government to work with others in order to make this country stronger. With foreign affairs playing an ever more dominant role in the executive branch, the choice of longtime Senator and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joe Biden as his running mate strengthens the ability of an Obama administration to revive America's diplomatic tradition and moral standing.
But as much as the unfinished wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have dominated the Bush years, the largest issue facing the next president is the economy. Americans have seen their government post record surpluses a decade ago only to see it post record deficits year after year.
We have seen how corruption and greed on Wall Street grind this economy to a halt. We have seen the gap between the wealthy and the poor grow larger than it has been since the Great Depression. And we have sat idly while this country's middle class is pushed to the breaking point under the weight of mounting health care costs, record energy prices and an education system that forces too many children to compromise their dreams.
While it has been obvious during the past few weeks that neither candidate has a master plan to get the economy back on track, Obama's relentless emphasis on the needs of the middle class instead of the privileged few is the fundamental basis for any plan that could restore the confidence of millions in a system that has failed.
We are tired of hearing that one side of this country would rather destroy it than support it. We are tired of attacks on patriotism being substituted for attacks on reasoning. And we are tired of being afraid to demand that this country demand better. But above all, we refuse to be afraid to hope again.
It's been too long since Americans have been truly inspired by their leaders. Not since John F. Kennedy has a candidate for president ignited something deep inside people all across this country. Even with seemingly insurmountable problems facing all of us, millions of Americans of all creeds, all ethnicities and al walks of life have mustered the enthusiasm to once again believe that we can do better.
As we see change on the horizon, we also see renewed promise for this great country. And we also feel empowered because after spending too many years in darkness, a new era is dawning.
"We are the change that we seek," Obama declared at a rally in Chicago last winter. We seek Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States.