While the economy slips, the war labors on and forecasts only become more and more negative, this election provides an opportunity to look to the future. It's an opportunity to shape the next four years and shed the gloom to which we have seemingly succumbed of late.
Both candidates have the potential to lead us into the future and the skills to succeed - contrary to consistent media vitriol - and the United States has reached a crossroads of two competent options. Through substantial debate, with support and opposition for both candidates, 12 members of The Daily Gamecock's editorial staff decided that Barack Obama is the leader our country needs at this critical time.
Obama has experienced strong bipartisan support already, securing the endorsement of Colin Powell and, as recently as Friday, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld. McCain has been known to cross party lines, but for the past eight years he has sided with his peers a vast majority of the time. While Obama's voting record doesn't glow of moderation, the relationships he has established with prominent Republicans speaks to his ability to put aside political differences and connect across the aisle.
One relationship Obama has developed that is particularly encouraging is with former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker. The economic crisis facing the U.S. is at the forefront of most voters' minds - and it should be. Frankly, we aren't comfortable with either candidate's knowledge of the economy. Having one of the most respected central bankers of recent memory in his corner gives Obama a strong advisor to turn to. Part of being a great leader is knowing when to trust in others - and whom to trust.
College students particularly stand to benefit from an Obama presidency. The American Opportunity Tax Credit will create a $4,000 refundable credit to help cover the cost of higher education. Republicans should also be open to this idea, as it provides educational relief for all qualifying colleges and universities, allowing students greater flexibility in choosing their institution of matriculation. Spending will clearly be an issue of contention no matter who is elected, but educating Americans should be a priority.
As the world grows more competitive and ever smaller, America's role and perception in the international community will become paramount. Fair or not, our reputation has been damaged in recent years, and much as Obama has proven he can communicate effectively within the U.S., we believe he has the ability to cross physical and cultural borders. We can no longer afford to consider international relations a lesser factor in selecting our president.
As mentioned, McCain had strong support among our editorial staff as well, and justifiably so. He has a long record of service to our country, as a senator and in our armed forces where his heroics are well documented. We emphasize that our endorsement of Obama hinges on his strengths and not McCain's weaknesses.
But while McCain has proven himself a capable leader, his party, unfortunately, has not. Without question, part of Obama's success has resulted from the ineptness of the Republican Party the last eight years. With George W. Bush at the helm, Congressional Republicans let spending run amok and pork barrel projects become the standard. While this is not a slight against McCain directly, it is understandable that many Americans are ready to see what the other side can accomplish.
Come Nov. 4, every American will have a decision to make. While our opinion is clear, the only true error you can make come Election Day is not caring. Write a candidate in if you must, but for a few hours of the year, put the interests of our country at heart. On Nov. 5, we will still be Americans ad the future will be ours to share.