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Barack Obama’s Second Chance

We may have dodged a bullet here. We also might not have. Fortunately, those are dice we’ll never roll. Over the last few weeks I found myself thinking Mitt Romney might actually win this thing. But alas, we will be subjected to another four years of Barack Obama. I for one, could be a lot more excited. But this is a huge victory for my country and in particular, my generation.

After four years of constant sabotage by the Republican Party, Barack Obama has not lost enough votes to lose his job. But, it wasn’t easy. Not only was this President handed some of the most disastrous economic circumstances ever, a runaway train of a budget and two wars, but he had to navigate the most intense partisan opposition ever concocted. This opposition orchestrated the most dysfunctional Congress in history, and abused the filibuster in disturbing fashion. But while Tea Party Senators are falling left and right, Barack Obama is still standing. This shows a drastic shift in the public conscience and awareness.

When you consider how hard this President was obstructed, and how far short of some of his goals he fell, it was tough to win back a lot of those votes he got in 2008. But the American people saw Mitt Romney in the primaries. They saw the GOP go further and further right and, most importantly, they watched a spineless businessman latch on, albeit reluctantly, to an increasingly insane party. The American people understood what it would mean to elect that bastard. But I’m not interested in Mitt Romney anymore. It’s time to celebrate some of the things this re-election could mean for our country.

Church and State
While Barack Obama is a Christian, he sincerely understands the importance of the separation of church and state. He knows that our founding fathers were not religious figures. He knows that while his religion’s establishment might not agree with things like abortion and gay marriage, they don’t dictate the laws for secular citizens in a secular nation. As each generation gets less tied to organized religion, it’s important that our president doesn’t cater to to their regressive social outbursts.

 

Social Issues
Had Mitt Romney become our president, we were in for a few serious changes. He would have been in position to appoint one, possibly two Supreme Court justices over the course of his first term, solidifying a hardcore conservative court for the foreseeable future. Beyond that, he had intended to challenge Roe v. Wade, returning abortion to the states, simultaneously defunding Planned Parenthood (which provides so many important services to women and families). He would have pushed for a Constitutional Amendment in support of “traditional marriage.” While I do know younger conservatives, they generally disagree with the dated social policies of Mitt Romney. Instead, we have a President who understands the importance of women having control of their bodies, and who has openly supported gay marriage. On social issues, I am giddy to see that Obama will be returning to the Oval Office.

Environmental Issues
While Obama has been miserably quiet about the environment, he represents a chance for Americans to get serious about the dangers of drilling and hydro-fracking. Climate change is evident, and we need to put a serious effort towards protecting our environment in order to protect our country and species in the long-term. We are living unsustainably at our own detriment, and Obama is being dealt a chance to take a leading role in the fight against fossil fuels and pollution. Other countries have pledged to make great strides in renewable and sustainable energy sources, and Obama could find himself in a win-win if he embraces a strong environmental agenda.

Healthcare
Had Mitt Romney become president, he would have worked relentlessly to repeal Obamacare. He probably couldn’t have done it. But now there is no question that our country is going forward with universal healthcare. The Affordable Care Act was Obama’s crowning piece of legislation, and the American people have decided that they want it to stay. And now there is no question that it will. As a 22 year old on my parents’ health plan, I could not be more happy.

Economic Conscience
As a country, we have decided that income equality is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. The Republican ticket was offering a vacation back to 2002. We were going to amass an even larger military while cutting taxes in lavish fashion. Instead, Americans voted for the guy who has said that it’s time for the super-wealthy to step up and prove their patriotism by sacrificing slightly more of their ungodly fortunes in times of struggle (or just as much as they used to when our economy wasn’t a mess).

 

This election was horrible. It’s lasted four years, and billions of dollars have been wasted. Our president has been forced to spend a ridiculous amount of time campaigning, and our country has turned against itself. Fortunately, we now have a chance to repeal Citizens’ United, which would help soften the blunt trauma that is the current presidential election.

Takeaway
When it comes down to it, Barack Obama has been an incredibly moderate president. As a progressive, I’m not holding my breath for him to drive the United States into the future. But I’m more excited than I thought I would be about his second-term. Our Supreme Court will most likely be liberal by the end of his tenure, and that will have a lasting impact. Plus our electorate has spoken on some really serious issues. As the white male demographic becomes less and less a factor in our elections, the GOP will struggle with its radical base, and will likely have to revamp its approach. We now have a chance to regulate Wall Street, to create government jobs, to bring outsourced jobs back home, and to maintain a social safety net so that the most unfortunate of our citizens are not forgotten. We have the chance to make marriage a universal right, and give women unquestioned control of their bodies. You can’t look at these things in contrast with a Romney presidency and not get excited. Our social conscience has been stated. It’s time for Mr. Obama to get his hands dirty. There’s no election at the end of this one, B.O.

Derek Nielsen is a graduate of Fordham University, where he studied Business and Philosophy. He was born and raised in New York and will most likely die there too. Currently, Derek lives in Brooklyn with his dog, Bandit. Bandit isn’t very smart. It doesn’t help that he can’t read.

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