Obama pulling through with promises

t.j..weber

In the Oct. 15 issue of the North Wind, Lucia Lopez stated that President Obama doesn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize because of his empty promises of change. While I will not pretend to know who is the rightful heir to the prize (history will be a much better judge), I can say that President Obama has brought the change he promised. In order to define change, and whether or not it has been brought, one must go through the issues most important to Americans and look for distinctions between today and the Bush era.

First let’s start with the economy. President Bush’s last quarter of his term coincided with the largest drops in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in over 20 years, a 6.2 percent decrease according to the Commerce Department. Since taking office, President Obama passed the stimulus package, a $700 billion bill aimed at revitalizing an economy broken by eight years of corporate ownership of government, de-regulation and utter incompetence. Last week it was announced that the economy grew for the first time in six quarters, and grew more than economists predicted.

Now let’s head to foreign policy. Lopez stated in her piece that not yet closing Guantanamo Bay is an example of broken promises. President Obama signed an executive order in January that Guantanamo would be closed within a year; it has been only 10 months. And even while Guantanamo stays open for its last year of operation, you can even see vast changes in the way it operates. The U.S. Justice Department has been under constant fire from Republicans on choosing to bring prisoners to the United States for a fair trial, and affording them human rights, something non-existent under the Bush Administration.

In Iraq, we now have troops leaving daily while Iraq blossoms into a democracy with Shia, Sunni and Kurdish sects all sharing legitimacy in the government. In Afghanistan, the situation is deteriorating with violence toward U.S. troops and Afghani civilians rising, and monthly casualties hitting all time highs. But, unlike former President Bush, President Obama has talked with military leaders, congressional leaders, and most importantly: the people.

President Obama has also opened the door of dialogue with Iran, where America no longer looks like the enemy. Just last week, a protest broke out in Iran in which protestors chanted “death to the dictator” citing Ahmadinejad, and later chanted Obama’s name, signaling a domestic shift in even the most extreme circumstances.
Now let’s talk about health care. President Obama has taken on trying to reform the worst run industry in the history of our great nation. He has advocated a public option and universal coverage, while also advocating bipartisanship and compromise. He protected the industry, while taking on the corporate interests, greed and excessive profits.

Obama advocated the industry as a revenue source, while maintaining health care is a human right. This week he passed a health plan with a public option through the House of Representatives with a Republican vote, something seemingly impossible under any other leader.

While President Obama has far from accomplished his entire agenda, he has done exactly what we elected him to do. We are seeing a country in which our interests are held in higher regard than that of the corporations and special interests.

While I cannot speak for the Nobel committee and their decision to give President Obama the prize, I can easily see why he may deserve it: the new direction America has taken. We have now moved away from an imminent domestic collapse, corporate rule and neo- conservative domination abroad. Is the prize deserved? Only time will tell.

Editor’s note: TJ Weber is a junior marketing major and editor of the NMU Political Review, a student run publication that provides student perspective on political issues. He can be contacted at [email protected]