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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Obama failing to be an instrument of change

President Barack Obama was elected on a campaign based on his promises of hope and change for our country. Many thought he would transform his political party and the country much like President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in the 1930s. The comparisons were already being made before Obama even stepped into office after heavily defeating John McCain.

Obama has not done enough to change the political landscape. He has disappointed many who had hope in Obama’s presidency but have already lost it only a year into his first term. The Republicans have used every parliamentary trick to hold up his appointments, like Senator Shelby’s unnecessary holds on presidential appointments, and key legislation like health care and climate change setting a record last year for the amount of filibusters used in the Senate in our country’s history.

The president has not used enough of his political capital to pass the reforms and laws that our country has desperately needed for longer than he’s been in office. In June 2009, a New York Times/CBS poll showed that 64 percent of Americans wanted some sort of national health insurance and 72 percent wanted a public insurance option to compete with private health insurers.

Obama let Congress try to draft legislation from scratch and let corporate-sponsored astroturfing drag down poll numbers for health care reform by distorting the bill. It has been distorted as a Soviet Union Communist conspiracy to set up death panels to kill our grandparents which couldn’t be more untrue.

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Barack Obama should have had the moral courage to tell the American people as a U.S. Senator that he supported a single-payer health care system. The United States is the only wealthy industrialized democratic country that doesn’t provide their citizens with universal health care coverage, whether it’s through a single-payer system or through a different mechanism. Without these reforms, 44,000 Americans will die this year because they cannot afford health care.

What the American people have gotten is a bill watered down because of Republican obstruction and corporate influence. For instance, in the Senate bill, health insurers can’t deny you coverage because of pre-existing conditions. They can, however, charge you as much as they like because of factors including your age and chronic illnesses.

Obama has also shown to be too conciliatory toward the Republicans on other issues as well. In December 2009, 55 percent of Americans were against the war in Afghanistan. What does Obama do? He once again goes against the will of the people and sends 30,000 more American troops into Afghanistan to go after less than 100 terrorists suspected to be there. Sending more troops won’t fix the problem. It only legitimizes the insurgency that resides in Afghanistan, where they have been fighting against foreign invaders for the past 30 years. We must work with the local tribes and build up their infrastructure instead of supporting a corrupt regime of Hamid Karzai.

Then the president collapses to the nuclear industry. He guarantees loans for two new nuclear power plants to be built which would be the first since the 1970s. In 1952, Harry Truman’s Materials Policy Commission recommended that 75 percent of all homes be running on solar energy by 2000. A 2007 report from MIT has said that geothermal energy can provide a substantial amount of our country’s electricity needs at competitive prices. The president should be investing more in solar, wind and geothermal energies instead of the nuclear industry and their lobbyists.

The Republican Party had eight years under George W. Bush to enact their policies and convince the American people they were the best party. What they gave us was tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, illegal wiretapping of civilians, torturing of enemy combatants, tax loopholes for big corporations and deregulation of Wall Street that led to the economic collapse of 2008.

It is now Obama’s turn with the Democratic Party. He needs to find the moral courage and stand up for the American people by regulating Wall Street, providing universal health care, withdrawing from Afghanistan, closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, investing in renewable energies and making sure every American can afford a college education if they want it.

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