1. Forget about the deficit, the problem is personal debt: Whereas the national deficit will probably never affect us on a personal level, credit card debt has been the real financial detriment of my generation. Immediately after reaching any semblance of accountable credit (mostly through cell phone plans), we get hounded by credit card companies offering that seemingly lucrative “buy now, pay later” plan. I even remember the banker at my bank campus branch short of salivating when I told him I was eager to get my first credit card.
“Someone should make us (inexperienced cardholders) read and sign a paper on how bad credit can fuck up the rest of your life,” my friend once said. “No one told me that when I was using my credit cards to buy a new iPod every six months sophomore year of college.”
Fortunately for sophomores now, banks are forbidden from giving away free pizza to lure students into getting new credit cards (yes, apparently even pizza was a part of the ploy). Furthermore, the Credit CARD Act signed by Obama in 2009 also protects cardholders from arbitrary interest rate increases, misleading terms and other gimmicks.
2. An education we can all afford: One of the few American Presidents to complete higher education thanks to student loans, Obama understood that the system needed reform. How can recent graduates have the financial liberty to remake a struggling economy when they graduate to a pre-existing burden of student loan debt?
Now, thanks to Obama, federal loan repayments are capped at 10% of a graduate’s income. The President has also helped replace student loans with more federal grants which do not have to be repaid. He doubled investment in Pell Grants, which will help 10 million students complete college debt-free.
3. Continuing health coverage for young Americans: Most of the time, when I look at political elections, I vote based on well-intended theoretical ideologies: Yes, we should invest in green energy, wars suck. It is rare and surprising whenever a politician’s policies, let alone the President’s, have a very real-life impact on my life.
I can honestly say that I could not have been able to thrive as an independent contractor (freelance writer) if I hadn’t been under my parents’ health insurance until my 26th birthday earlier this year. Thanks to Obama, I benefitted from my parents’ health insurance even though I was no longer in school, did not reside in my parents’ home and was not listed as their dependent on tax returns. Heck, I could have been a part of my parents’ health insurance even if I were married.
4. Regaining the world’s respect: Conservatives like to make the case that Obama has weakened America’s image on the world stage, which goes completely against the recent MSN global poll revealing that the entire planet would re-elect our President. Every single one of the 35 countries surveyed except for China showed overwhelming support for Obama over Romney.
Obama was a already a global darling before he was first elected, but ending the war in Iraq and killing Osama Bin Laden solidified him as a man of his word when it came to international affairs.
5. Leader in the new civil rights movement: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first African-American President is also the most progressive presidential figure in the LGBT civil rights movement. Before uttering his personal support for same-sex marriage, Obama repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, signed the Hate Crimes Act into law, refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and lifted the travel ban on people with HIV.
6. Giving women full control of their bodies: Apparently, Republicans want government small so that it can fit inside a women’s uterus. I can’t think of anything worse for my female friends than to have to ponder whether an act of violence was “forceable.”
With freedom of religion also comes freedom from religion, which means a woman should have the choice to counter any belief, god-given or otherwise, that affects her. Mitt Romney and cohorts have devised a plan to backtrack on women’s rights — from getting rid of Planned Parenthood to redefining rape. And while Romney looks forward to overturning Roe v. Wade, Obama has tripled the number of women on the Supreme Court.
7. Fostering the American DREAM: Obama has urged Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would allow young immigrants who came to America as children and were raised here, to earn a path to U.S. citizenship by going to college or serving in the military. The DREAM Act is exactly the type of legislation that would inspire hope for generations to come. By giving immigrants the chance to legally follow the American Dream instead of having to hide from it, Obama is securing a proud, hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizenship grateful of the opportunity.
8. Four years is not long enough: Even with all these policies and reforms, Obama’s major critique is that he hasn’t done enough. And perhaps not, considering the great uniter promised a lot of things to a lot of different groups of people. But four years in the Oval Office is barely enough time to start scratching deep below the surface and effecting change, let alone shift entire economic tides.
Obama has laid out a pretty solid framework, despite having to focus on re-election campaign distractions in the shape of Donald Trump, and he deserves at least another four years to finish what he has started. The Founding Fathers intended for Presidents to get two terms in office, and it would be a shame to cut Obama’s visionary presidential streak at halfway.