Faceoff: Election 2012

At the beginning of 2008, I was a proud and self-described cynic, convinced that America had once been great but was on an irreversible path toward social and economic entropy started long before I was born. But here I am, four years later, convinced that America – thanks to President Barack Obama – is back on the right path.

As I sit at the close of 2012 and reflect back over the past four years, I can’t believe the changes I have witnessed. I can’t help but think that my cynical self of a few years ago wouldn’t be able to believe the hope and pride I’m flushed with today for the future of our country, all thanks to the changes won by Obama.

At the top of the list is, of course, the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to this historic piece of legislation, all Americans are guaranteed the ability to obtain health insurance, regardless of their medical condition. In addition, middle-class families will finally have help paying medical bills when insurance tax credits go into effect in 2014.

Insurance companies will no longer be able to rescind policies when people get sick, nor will they be able to put yearly or lifetime limits on people’s insurance policies. Young people will be able to stay on their family’s health plans until they turn 26. Women won’t be charged higher premiums than men simply because of their gender. The Affordable Care Act will lead to an America where every citizen can have affordable and dependable health insurance.

The student loan system has also undergone major changes for the better. Under the old system, the federal government not only insured private lenders against any possible defaults but also paid them taxpayer money to do it. Under Obama’s reforms, the money that used to go to banks was put into the Pell Grant program and into lowering student loan interest rates.

Under the Obama administration, gay and lesbian Americans have finally seen more rights recognized. From federal protection against hate crimes, to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” to hospital visitation rights, to having the first president in American history voice his support for same-sex marriage, the LGBTQ community has seen the greatest advancement of rights thanks to Obama.

While most of us thought this issue would be settled by the 21st century, Obama has acted time and time again to make sure women are treated equally. Not as despicable sluts, not as criminals, not as second-class citizens, but as what they truly are: half of the population. From equal pay for equal work to universal birth control coverage, Obama believes it’s more important to regulate banks then to regulate women’s bodies.

These policies are just a taste of the change that is all around us. From net neutrality to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and from reducing loose nuclear weapons around the world to reviving the American auto industry, you’ll find numerous ways the Obama administration has positively affected you and those you care about.

That’s what this election is about. Change is an unending process, and we need to make sure America continues to change for the better.

Click here to read the Republican viewpoint.