By: Guest opinion: Barack Obama

Issue date: 4/25/08

The following was written by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and sent to the Vanguard by the organization Oregon for Obama.

This is a defining moment for America, and for your generation.

I’ve met students across this country who are wondering whether the college education they’re receiving will lead to a good job that can pay off all those loans. I’ve met others who are tired of watching our planet polluted and our climate changed forever, and still others who’ve bravely gone to fight in a war that should never have been authorized and never been waged.

It is because of these failures that all Americans–not just Democrats–are listening to what we say in this election. This is our chance to forge a new majority to tackle problems that grew worse under George Bush, but that have festered long before he took office.

And that’s why we can’t afford the same old politics this year. We can’t tell everyone what we think they want to hear–we have to tell people what they need to hear.

Presidents have made the most difference in people’s lives when they’ve led not by polls, but by principle; not by triangulation and calculation, but by conviction; when they’ve been leaders who could summon the entire nation to a common purpose.

That’s why I’m running for President.

I’m running to make college more affordable for any American who wants to go. I’ve proposed a $4,000 a year refundable tax credit that will cover two-thirds of the tuition at the average public college or university. And I’ll strengthen our community colleges by offering new degrees for emerging fields and rewarding schools that graduate more students.

I’m running to reform health care like I did in Illinois–by reaching across party lines, and taking on the insurance industry. That’s how I’ll sign a universal health care plan by the end of my first term as president. Under my plan, if you graduate and don’t find a job that provides health insurance right away, you can stay on your parents’ insurance until you’re 25.

I’m running to save our generation from global catastrophe by putting a cap on carbon emissions and creating a low-carbon fuel standard that will take 50 million cars’ worth of pollution off the road. And I’ll raise the fuel efficiency standards for our cars and trucks because we know we have the technology to do it, and it’s time we did.

I’m running because I’m tired of being told that the only way for Democrats to look tough on national security is to talk, and act, and vote like George Bush Republicans.

When I’m your nominee, my opponent won’t be able to say that I supported this war in Iraq, or that I support that Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don’t like. I’ll end this war in Iraq, bring our troops home within 16 months, give our troops and military families the support they have earned, and open a new era of diplomacy for America.

I’m running because I don’t want to see us spend the next years re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s. I don’t want to pit Blue America against Red America–I want to lead the United States of America.

I run for the same reason I fought for the jobless on the streets of Chicago, and stood up for equality as a civil rights lawyer, and fought for Illinois families for over a decade–to give my children and yours the same chances that someone gave me.

It’s time to stop settling for what the cynics say is possible. In this election–at this moment–let’s finally reach for what we know in our hearts is possible. A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.

To participate in the Oregon Democratic Primary, you must register to vote as a Democrat by April 29. You will be mailed a ballot to the address at which you register. For your vote to be counted, you must return it in the mail by May 15, or drop it off at a designated local ballot drop location by May 20. To find more information or to register to vote, please visit or call 866-675-2008.