EDITORIAL | The ideal candidate

By Amanda Finnegan
April 19, 2007

The 2008 presidential elections begin to approach, and over 20 candidates have thrown their hats in the ring. As young adults, what do we look for in a candidate? Barack Obama’s charisma, John Edward’s humility and John McCain’s courage? We want a president to embody these entire characteristics but to also focus on the hard-hitting issues that our generation faces. Loquitur has decided to put a list of issues together that matter to our generation and create our ideal presidential candidate.

Financial aid is a major obstacle for both incoming and graduating college students. With college costs steadily on the rise and no end in sight, the cost of higher education is becoming close to impossible for some. States like Florida and Iowa, along with others across the country, offer scholarships that are the equivalent to tuition at their state school directly for students who meet GPA expectations in high school. More state officials should put such programs in effect. Lower loan rates need to be put in place and more government grants need to be offered to give realistic assistance. If we can spend over $450 billion in Iraq, we can find a way to alleviate the cost of college for students and their parents.

Our broken foreign policy is something that most certainly needs to be addressed in the 2008 election. The conflict in Darfur is now in its fourth year; the death toll has reached 450,000 and has driven 2.5 million Darfurians from their homes, according to Catholic Relief Services, yet the U.S. has taken little action. The U.S. still has unresolved issues with North Korea and Iran, not to mention the on going issues in Iraq. And what happened to Afghanistan? U.S. politicians have so much on their plate right now that it is difficult to sort out what is really important. The world’s perception of America has changed in recent years and it’s not a good one. We need a president who is willing to negotiate with other countries while listening to the voice of the American people. War shouldn’t be our only answer for foreign policy, let alone be an option at all.

Immigration is an issue that seems to be put on the back burner. We need a leader who will acknowledge the contributions and the necessity of the immigrant workforce and find compromises that protect our own workers while offering opportunities for work and families from aboard. Instead of spending millions on trying to keep immigrants out, the money should go towards comprehensive reforms. There need to be rules and regulations, but for a proactive solution that makes it less complicated to come and work here, while not displacing U.S. workers. Also, more effort should be made in addressing the problems in the native countries of the immigrants that are causing them to come here in desperate search of work and money.

Global warming is a problem that our generation will have to face head on. Our future president needs to draft long-term solutions. Alternative energy fuels need to be researched and tax breaks need to be made for those who are willing to become more energy efficient. The U.S. emits more greenhouse gases than any other country, according to BBC.com, and we need to be the front runners in the crusade. It is unfair to sit back and let other countries do the grunt work while we continue to be the biggest polluters. A global warming denier is not an option. The red, white and blue needs to go green.

The biggest issue the 2008 candidates will be faced with is what to do with Iraq and its veterans. Since the discovery of the conditions of Walter Reed Army Hospital, America learned that veterans are not treated with the honor and dignity they deserve, nor the best medical care. We now have veterans of our own generation. Not 70 year-old men, but 20 year-old men and women who were barely given a fighting chance. As right or wrong as we may think the war in Iraq is, these veterans are now our responsibility. A president needs to be able to really empathize with these vets and their families and create a plan to compensate them, that is if you can ever really compensate someone for risking their life for a governmental cause. The important thing is for us to first bring our troops home.

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, there are some issues that we can all agree on. The important thing is to stay well informed who ever your candidate may be.

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Amanda Finnegan

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