Obama represents change America has been striving for

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    Change. Obama’s campaign slogan has inspired a passionate campaign that has resulted in significant leads in many important states. Pollster.com shows Obama leading McCain strongly in 21 states.

    Obama’s record-setting rallies with crowds reaching staggering numbers of 100,000 on numerous occasions prove he is different. His passion is different than any of his opponents. His eloquent speeches have sparked a movement among Americans and pulled them into this presidential election like never before. Obama has rallied involvement of young voters and minority voters to a new high, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    Because of Obama’s U.S. Senate experience, he is familiar with working on tax breaks for American families and has put many early childhood education programs in place, providing support for students early in the hopes of decreasing the dropout rate.

    According to Obama’s campaign Web site, he is helping the majority of Americans by implementing “Making Work Pay” tax cuts. This plan cuts the taxes of those making less than $200,000 per year. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wants to keep the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in place. McCain’s plan, however, will allow the rich to get richer and widen the gap between middle and upper class. Taxes have to come from somewhere, and it does not make sense to place the burden on the middle class when they do not make as much money in the first place.

    In addition, Obama wants to raise minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2011, according to his campaign Web site. With the increase in the minimum wage, working-class families will have more money at the end of the year, raising the standard. As their yearly income increases, so does their tax bracket, making them able to pay more and eventually evening out the burden placed on the upper class.

    On top of tax cuts for middle-income families, Obama’s plan will provide affordable health care at a time of increasing insurance costs. Obama’s campaign Web site reports that more than 45 million Americans don’t have health care. His plan will focus on getting every individual a health plan they can afford.

    Teacher retention is a growing problem in America; more teachers are leaving their jobs within the first five years because they can’t pay off their educational loans on a teacher’s salary.

    Obama’s campaign promises plans for new Teacher Service Scholarships, which would cover four years of undergraduate school or two years of graduate teacher education.

    Obama’s plan for higher education includes the “American Opportunity Tax Credit” that ensures the first $4,000 is free for most Americans’ education, according to his campaign Web site. It will cover two-thirds of the cost of tuition of the average public college or university. This credit means community college tuition will be completely free for most students.

    As for the ongoing war, Obama wants to bring one to two brigades home a month, ending the war within 16 months. He supports special forces to combat terrorist threats such as al-Qaida.

    Obama plans on making America independent from foreign oil within the next 10 years by using light oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve instead of heavy crude oil to decrease prices at the pump. Also, he promotes the use of domestic oil such as the Barnett Shale formation and the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to help with our oil independence.

    Obama represents a new generation of Americans that no longer sees race. The United States has made great strides in seeing people for their qualifications instead of the color of their skin. Obama represents this positive change in America that has been so many years in the making.

    At a February rally in Chicago, Obama said, “This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency for the United States of America is different.”

    “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time,” Obama said. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

    Liz Davis, Alyssa Dizon, Bibek Bhandari and Michelle Anderson are students in an opinion writing class.