With election season getting into full swing, it’s time for us here at the Urchin Movement to get political(er.) To kick things off, we’ve each picked our favourite thing President Obama has done while in office. He was able to accomplish so much in four years; just imagine what he could do with another four.
When Obama was running for president in 2008, he made it clear that he wanted to bring the U.S. up to par with the rest of the world’s developed nations and provide its citizens with universal health care. He was elected on that platform. Yet when it came time to actually enact a plan, he was blocked at every turn. Congress tried to stop everything he put through and the American people suddenly grew greedy and selfish, wanting good healthcare only for themselves and not caring about the well being of their fellow citizens. Despite this, President Obama was still able to make some wonderful, much needed changes to the U.S.’s failing, despicable healthcare system.
As this country goes forward, people should remember that President Obama tried to bring about universal healthcare, and in fact did all he could given the lack of support. This should be kept in mind when people consider that, according to the United Nations, the U.S. is the only industrialised country in the world without a universal health care system. And that, according to a Journal of the American Medical Association study, the poorest people in Britain, a country with universal healthcare, can expect to live longer than the wealthiest Americans. And that, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, people in the U.S. pay more for healthcare every year than people in any other industrialized country but still die younger. And that, according to the CIA World Factbook, the U.S. has a higher infant mortality rate than 45 other nations. 50 countries have resident who live longer than people in the U.S. Lastly, TIME magazine reported that as of 2009 a 22-year-old worker and their employer could expect to pay $4 million for health care and insurance over their lifetime.
As the citizens of the U.S. continue to suffer from ailments they can’t afford to treat and pay exorbitant amounts of money to be healthy, they should remember that President Obama did everything he could to change all of that. When I was in New Zealand, a friend was hit by a drunk driver. He was able to take an ambulance to the hospital, get stitches, an x-ray, and prescription medicine at no cost. If this had happened in the U.S., he would have either had to pay thousands of dollars or not treat his injuries. Which would you prefer?
President Obama has elected and appointed more openly gay officials than any other president in history. Arguably our times make up a more accepting environment for people who hold public positions to be openly gay. This still speaks volumes to me. So often do acts of discrimination and hate grab our attention that sometimes we forget to celebrate moments of proven equality because, quite frankly, that’s what’s supposed to happen. Having someone like the President of the United States in your corner, showing by example (and also by words on record) that he supports the rights of gay people to live their lives, is indeed something to celebrate. It is also another step toward the right direction.
In March of this year, Obama introduced the Student Loan Forgiveness Program. Essentially, the program caps payments at 10% of the borrower’s income (these are government, not private student loans, mind you) and interest at 3.4%. It also allows for ten years of forgiveness in the event of economic hardship and forgiveness on your loans if you have made regular payments for more than 20 years. Whether or not they (and by they, I mean we) should have taken on student loan debt in the first place, is another issue.