Sacramento Bee Editorial: Obama: A vote for the nation's future
IN UNCERTAIN TIMES, AMERICA MUST LOOK AHEAD, NOT BACK AT FAILED LEADERSHIP
Published: Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008 | Page 6E
For voters pondering the presidential election, there is one key question: Is John McCain or Barack Obama better suited to lead this country in a time of great uncertainty?
The terms of the question help reveal the answer. In this election,
Americans are picking a future, not a past. That makes Barack Obama the better choice for president of the United States.
By electing Obama, voters will make a clear break from the policies of the past eight years.
They will signal their desire for a government committed to helping citizens
who need help, not those best able to fend for themselves.
They will show they are fed up with an era of unbridled greed and endless deficit spending.
They will opt for a government more respectful of the rights of human
beings, whether those human beings are alleged enemy combatants held at Guantánamo or U.S. citizens talking on their home telephones.
They will begin to restore America's relations with its allies and its
standing in the community of nations. And in doing these all things, they will say they are looking ahead, not back.
If there were ever a time when America needed to look ahead, this is it. The nation's economy and the world's have been weakened, with no end in sight. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their homes, and many hundreds of thousands more may yet suffer the same fate. The frugal have seen their savings and their prospects for secure retirements diminished.
Washington's coffers are beyond empty. State and local governments across the country are struggling to maintain crucial services.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, the nation is engaged in open-ended conflicts that have drained our treasury, sapped our military strength and cost the lives of more than 5,000 American servicemen and -women. New challenges confront us from old adversaries and emerging powers. Relations with longtime allies are strained.
These problems are daunting, but they are not insurmountable. To lead the way out of this mess, the next president must be capable of acting boldly and wisely, creatively and thoughtfully. Perhaps most important, he must be able to instill a unified sense of purpose in the nation's citizens. Barack Obama is the candidate more likely to bring those qualities to the presidency.
While his career in public service has been relatively brief, he has shown a resolute sense of purpose. His campaign for the presidency has demonstrated his even temperament, his discipline and his ability to create coalitions. His life story is uniquely American and uniquely compelling.
He has shown that he is comfortable surrounding himself with people ""
notably his choice for vice president, Joe Biden "" who can help compensate for his lack of broad experience. Most important, he has demonstrated an ability to inspire--an ability that will be essential as the next president works to restore confidence here and abroad.
John McCain, too, has a compelling life story. His long record of public
service, both in the military and in the Congress, is exemplary and
inspiring. He is a man of principle, as shown by his opposition to the use
of torture. No one can doubt his courage or his patriotism.
But for all its admirable qualities, McCain's record also is dotted with
instances of impulsive actions and dubious judgments. The most recent is his choice of a stunningly unqualified running mate.
McCain is also irrevocably tied to many of the failed policies of the
outgoing administration. His prescription for curing many of the nation's
problems, from the economy to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is to order up more of the same policies that have brought us to the current situation. Perhaps that is why his campaign has produced no evidence that he can inspire Americans to the sort of sacrifice and unity that will be needed to meet the challenges of the future.