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Editorial: We Need An Uncommon Leader Like Obama

This story was written by Editorial Board, Cornell Daily Sun
Nearly six years into a failing war and in the midst of the greatest economic crisis this country has faced in nearly a century, America needs an uncommon leader. After four years in the national spotlight, Sen. Barack Obama has proven himself to be that leader. It is for that reason that we endorse Obamas candidacy for president of the United States.

There are some who would criticize youth for being in the tank for Obama, for rushing to the aid of a pretty face and a prettier voice with little regard for the significance of the seat he is vying to fill. This is a demeaning libel that seeks to undermine any sense that young people are capable of serious decisions. To the contrary, our endorsement today is reflective of our support for Obamas policies and our sense that he will lead the country in the right direction. His youth is not all of that equation, but it is rightly part of it. When Bobby Kennedy spoke of the qualities of youth he spoke of a quality that was more about attitude than age. Obama is a fresh-thinking, forward-looking progressive voice in this country. The fact that his eyes focus on the present and future rather than the past are a large part of why we believe he is best equipped to keep America moving forward.

The senators temperament is reflective of that outlook. Throughout the campaign, Obama has been cool, measured and thoughtful, even in the midst of tremendous crisis. His response to this countrys recent economic downturn demonstrated an appreciation for the complexity of Americas severe economic issues, and not simply a concern for the sensational sound byte. College students on the road to gainful employment will be best served by a well-researched economic policy that draws on the expertise of those who know the economy best. Obama has shown that he is committed to that kind of approach.

On healthcare too, Obama has valued substance over rhetoric. He puts people before programs, recognizing that overtly attractive policies based on fiscal conservatism dont address real families that cant afford to pay the bills. We agree with Obama that healthcare is a right, and we applaud his plan to provide compassionate and adequate healthcare coverage for all Americans.

Along with healthcare, Obama understands that education is fundamentally necessary in a free and democratic society. Obamas plan to make education more accessible includes a refundable $4,000 tax credit to pay for college, which can be redeemed by 1,000 hours of community service. This plan will make college more affordable and more importantly it will encourage students to serve their communities.

We urge our readers who have not yet voted by absentee or early ballots to cast their votes for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. We urge our readers with the time and resources to donate what time and money they can afford whether in the form of $5 or a weekend spent pounding the Pennsylvania pavement to get out the vote for these candidates.

To be fair, Ithaca, N.Y. is no battleground. But a strong turnout and a stronger-than-usual youth turnout across the nation will send a message that Obamas cause is strong and his support runs deep. And high youth turnout will send a message to a President Obama or, we concede, to an ever-less-likely President McCain that youth is a constituency that bears recognition.

Its not enough that young people have overwhelmingly supported Obama, in sentiment, funds and countless hours of free labor, for the past 20 months. To get what we want, young people need to remain engaged today, for the next six days, up until the inauguration and long after it. Our issues are Americas issues, and our futures are Americas future. We want a president who will jumpstart the economy, end the war, help alleviate the cost of collge and begin the long, hard process of healing this nation from the hatred and division of the past eight years. To achieve these things, we have to continue to participate long after the polls have closed. Otherwise, in apathy and disengagement, we will get the leadership we deserve.

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