It is undeniable that the past eight years of President George W. Bush's administration have been injurious to the soul of America. Under Republican control, America has gone from being the "can-do" nation to being the "can we?" nation, from peace and prosperity to war and recession. The candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., however, has become a resurrection of the American spirit over the past 18 months.
Republicans have not only created a federal budget deficit of some $500 billion, they have also created an even greater deficit of empathy - unwilling to confront the crisis of 42 million people without health insurance, unable to act in the face of a disappearing middle class and unaccustomed to responding to anyone in America except the rich and the well-connected.
On the greatest challenges facing our country, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his party fail to move Americans to believe in their government again and fail to offer a departure from the paralysis that has plagued Washington for too long. McCain looks at the crisis of global warming and instead of calling on the ingenuity of the American people to create a transformational green solution, he calls on the Middle East to pump more oil. He looks at the economy and measures its success by the profits of big business rather than the despair of the American worker.
At the foundation of every single McCain policy prescription lies the same basic problem - a failure to present a change from George W. Bush's broken policies and the inability to propose 21st century solutions to solve 21st century problems.
Unlike McCain, Obama has inspired millions of Americans from all backgrounds to believe in the limitless potential of our country. In Barack Obama, Americans - Democrat, Republican and independent alike - see a transformational leader who can bridge partisan divides to deliver change that will be felt in the everyday lives of Americans. They see what John McCain cannot see - that in order to restore the promise of America, we must restart the 21st century and undo not just the failed policies of George W. Bush, but also the failed politics.
Many Republican politicians and strategists will not only continue the war in Iraq, they will also wage wars here at home, pitting Christian against Muslim, straight against gay, rich against poor and Republican against Democrat. In doing so, they encourage divisions that have allowed the GOP to stay in power for so long.
But as anyone who watched the Democratic National Convention last week knows, this time will be different. Democrats are unified behind a candidate who will stand up to the tired tactics of the Republican Party while advancing a positive vision for America. This vision promises to restore America's standing in the world, defeat terrorism, invigorate our economy with new jobs, solve the energy crisis, rebuild the middle class and create a government that works again for its struggling citizens.
After eight years of "can we?" it's time to move on to "yes, we can!"