“Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.” – President Barack Obama, Victory Speech, November 6, 2012
An election that had us all on the edges of our seats has finally come to a close. We watched closely the as the Electoral College votes rose well above 270 but no one was too quick to claim President Obama’s victory, including Governor Romney himself. We questioned if we would really know who will lead our nation into the future by election night, but thank goodness we did. No longer will my Grey’s Anatomy marathon be interrupted by political ads, and thankfully we can all look forward to a better future as Americans (we hope).
If this was your first election, congratulations, you really did make all the difference. Virginia itself was a key state for both candidates, and I know that our collegiettes at George Mason took the opportunity to make their voices heard. On Tuesday night, ballots had been counted from 88% of precincts, 49.8% had been cast for President Obama and 48.6% for his challenger. The latest count of Electoral College votes gave President Obama 303 votes against Mitt Romney’s 206, (Florida still to declare.)
Now, moving forward, we have our own lives to think about and our own success to determine. The position that President Obama and Governor Romney fought so hard for will ultimately determine the most precious and most personal issues in our own everyday lives.
President Obama has grown American jobs by 125,000 since his inauguration in 2009. He is the first sitting President since the Second World War to win re-election with the unemployment rate as high as it is today, at 7.9 %. His entrance into the White House was not characterized as the best time to take the job, and although he has faced many decisions that have made the nation less proud of his achievements as president, it cannot be denied that he values American jobs, and knows the worth of America’s middle class. President Obama’s dedication to ending America’s dependence on foreign oil will make room for 600,000 domestic jobs, and will allow us to emerge as a leader in the natural gas industry. In February 2009, Obama’s stimulus bill allowed almost 1million Americans to keep their jobs. The package intended to jumpstart economic growth, extending billions in tax cuts, unemployment, health and education benefits, and federal grant and loan growth.
As we all finish our college careers, we have this looming nerve that we may not be able to get a job after graduation. Of course qualifications, entry positions, salary requirements and numerous factors are in play in the employment game, but with President Obama’s plan for job growth and development, we can be sure that our college degree will (hopefully) pay for itself. However, with that being said, the depth of our financial issues may prove difficult to ignore, and difficult to classify as secondary on any agenda. Thankfully, President Obama, more-so than Governor Romney values higher education, and believes that the true essence of domestic growth lies within our own education system. Our President will continue to stand up for federal financial aid, as well as federal research money. The importance of our deficit may prioritize spending cuts over stimulating spending in higher education, but we can be hopeful that in our President’s new term, he will find the funding and the support for higher education, placing it higher on his agenda.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan intends to continue his work with the Obama administration, and will further pursue the regulation of for-profit universities. President Obama will continue to advocate for the Pell Grant in budget negotiations, and although he will face the ‘fiscal cliff,’ “a combination of mandatory spending cuts and expiring tax breaks,” (Inside Higher Ed) in January of 2013, President Obama has been an asset to higher education and will continue to support it in every way he can, despite the burden of regulations that any sitting President will face.
Early in Barack Obama’s Presidency, he introduced the “Obama student loan forgiveness program,” which automatically clears any remaining debt of someone who has made regular payments on their federal student loans for a minimum of twenty years. President Obama believes that college should be affordable, and every American should have the opportunity to attend college if they choose to.
As many developed countries have established before us, healthcare is now not a novelty in the United States, but a right, and pre existing conditions among other things will not obstruct one’s right to healthcare. In August, President Obama passed a birth control mandate granting almost 47 women free access to contraception and preventative health services. New health insurance plans are required to give women access to birth control at no out of pocket cost. Obviously, this excludes houses of worship and religious nonprofits. If Governor Romney was elected, one of the first things he vowed to do was repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) along with this very mandate. As women, we can be grateful that President Obama is in the White House. The Affordable Care Act has ensured that insurance companies must provide accessible birth control to women. Romney’s plan for America would take that away, and make it very difficult, even illegal, to have an abortion if it became necessary. As women, we must remember that no government official has the right to make decisions about OUR own bodies
Our country faces a difficult time, in Governor Romney’s concession speech he even mentioned his concern for our great nation. The partisanship that exists between our policymakers inhibits great, necessary changes from occurring in our government, and most importantly, we must remember that we have the responsibility to grow back from this ‘fiscal cliff’ together as we have done in the past. As the President enters his second term, we hope that our own concerns, among everyone else’s are valued and considered priorities, but we also must remember the concept of “country first.”