What Is “Change?”
By: Lindsay Straub
Change. For President-Elect Barack Obama, this was more than a word throughout his campaign. It was a symbol of hope for the American public. During the 2008 Presidential Race, Obama projected his commitment to change and determination to improve the American way of life. For months, voters saw the word “change,” and whether democratic or republican, automatically associated it with Obama. This, I believe, aided Obama in the race for president. He projected consistency in his campaign, and it all started with one word: change. Of course, most Americans can recite a laundry list of things they’d like to see “changed” in our country. Being that he is our new president, I’m sure he is feeling the pressure to meet these needs and declarations we heard throughout his campaign.
Just in case Obama happens to read our good old River Reporter and post-election commentary, I thought I’d help him out a bit. I polled ten Marist students, asking them what they see as “change” and what they’d like to see change now that Obama is in office.
When Obama refers to change, my biggest hope would be for him to help our economy get back on its feet and then continue to stabilize and grow. I hope that he can instill in us a new sense of pride that President Bush did not give to our country. I hope that he can figure out a way to bring the troops home, but at the same time, keep a strong military force that does not allow other countries to think we are weak because of this decision. And I hope that he can figure out a way to give universal healthcare to everyone in our country. We should all be afforded this, and unfortunately most do not have it.
Sarah Masucci ’09
Having not paid too much attention to the actual election, I’m not really sure what Obama’s message of change was. However from my own perspective, the change we are looking for is a reversal of the economic downfall. The turbulent economy is the most important issue facing many Americans as we approach the end of this fiscal year with many struggling to keep their already existing jobs, and virtually no disposable income.
What I think will definitely change is the approval rating of our president, simply because he is a great public speaker. I think a more united nation will result from his self composure and ability to speak extemporaneously and competently. Also, after studying abroad I think that international opinions will be improved. Many countries developed a strong distaste for the face of the U.S. government, George W. Bush. I think that in electing a democrat it shows the nation’s attempt to advance from the past. Also, being African American, the election of Obama shows that the United States has overcome the race issue which has plagued our country’s history. I think a major change will be international, and relations will be affected greatly.
Mike Tedesco ’09
Change was the central campaign for Obama’s. Obama becoming president presented a major change in the fact that he is the first African American in the White House. Change also came in the fact that a member of the Republican Party had occupied the White House for the past eight years. Now Obama and his cabinet will consist of those from the Democrat party. With promises of policy changes, bringing the troops home from Iraq, tax cuts and redistribution of wealth, Obama set many a promise and drew up plans for the future of this country. USA runs on a system of checks and balances, however. The House of Representatives, the Senate and the Supreme Court exist so that no one person/party has too much power. Obama will be able to create much of this “change” that he spoke of LARGELY because of the fact that both the HOR and the Senate have Democratic Party majorities. Policies, laws and amendments will be passed more swiftly and with greater ease when presented by the President due to the fact that his party is backing him in both of these major parts of the U.S. government. As a Republican supporter, I worry that the system of checks and balances will be very unbalanced and change will come quickly and favor the ideas of the Democrats.
Kristina Valente ’09
Well I did vote for Obama because I felt that change was exactly what we needed after these past eight years of just pure failure as a country. We went from a world power and source of inspiration to a global joke, and I don’t find that appealing. The changes I am anxiously waiting for would be the restructuring and funding of the failed and un-funded No Child Left Behind (NBLC) mandate, the federal funding and support for Stem Cell Research, and the “socialism” (ridiculous) of increasing the taxes of those who HAVE to help support those who DON’T through universal health care and the maintenance of social security and Medicare/Medicaid.
I guess I also felt a change in the person who leads us was one of the most important aspects of this election. We as a nation have finally made a step in the right direction and I am proud that our country isn’t as bigoted and racist as I previously thought it might have been. I have more hope at this moment for our future than I have had in the last eight years.
Kevin Cranmer ’09
I think the biggest thing that needs to be changed right now is the war going on overseas. This is one of the things Obama said he would change and ultimately put to an end and I think a lot of people are counting on that. I think it is up to the government to end the war, but that citizens can help as they have been by protesting, etc etc.
Natalie Smith ’09
I was for Obama and there were a few changes I definitely want to see. But one big one for me is our perception abroad and how other countries view us and our relations with them. I’d like to see us out of Iraq, for example. I think going abroad and meeting people all the time who had such negative views on the United States really affected me. I was even cursed out by a French army man in a bar once!
I just read an article that a lot of countries—all over—are looking at us already as a new example. And some said they saw Obama as a “global leader” for them. This made me happy.
Rebecca Vosilla ’09
The biggest thing I feel needs to change, and the reason Obama won my vote, is America’s stance on education. Our education system needs serious reform. It is not acceptable for all students to be expected to reach the same standards and goals set before them. I was appalled that an “intelligent” woman like Sarah Palin who has a son who is classified special education would support John McCain’s proposal to continue with uniform standards throughout the country. Schools need more funding and more support to properly educate the youth of America and as a future educator, I dread the thought of being under the rule of a president who was going to make me teach in such a way. That is not what education is and hopefully Obama will change the way our education system is structured.
Samantha Kelly ‘08
I would really like to see a change in our economy of course. We all know that could use some help. I would, however, like to see an overall change in our attitude. Being that we are the United States of America, I would really like to see us all become united for a change. We have spent so long being mad at our president and hating what he has done to us that we have lost sight of what a great country we can be. Whether it was Obama or McCain, change needed to happen. We need to return to our accepting and compatible culture we once had. We need to focus on what truly matters and overcome our disappointment in our past leadership. We need to change the attitude of America so we can change what it stands for: unity.
Hillary Porter ‘08
For me, change is just about finally doing whatever the government can that is best for the people. The president needs to help the state of the economy. America is in somewhat of a rut right now and change to me would just be to see a president who is doing their best to help the people, and keeping the people’s best interests at heart. Of course I would like to see the end of the war, but I want all that America has done in Iraq to be worth it, and so I hope that the president is able to slowly wean the troops out and keep the American spirit of democracy in Iraq.
Katie Iovino ‘07
I’m looking forward to Obama being in office because I truly believe he can bring about the change this country has been looking for. I hope he not only brings about change in the economy, the war, and the health care system here in America, but I hope this change will bring us back together as a country. I hope through this election people will realize once again that America is the greatest country in the world, and that anything is possible.
Meghan Burke ’09
Although most of the students above named specific things they’d like to see change, many of them named one thing: American unity. Of course, issues like health care, the economy, our education system and the War in Iraq are extremely pertinent. But at the end of the day, aren’t we all just Americans? Once we unite as a country, and I mean truly unite, (call me crazy, but a girl can dream) only then can we proudly stand in the face of our both our allies and our enemies.
Hope this helps Barack! Us in J II do what we can 🙂