Ryan Chartrand

The members of Cal Poly Students for Barack Obama have been waiting for Feb. 5 for a very long time. On Tuesday, for the first time in our lives, we will have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who truly inspires us.

For the last four months, we have walked around campus, drumming up support for our candidate. We are often asked, “Why him? What is it about Obama that makes you stand up and get involved?” We’ve had the opportunity to explain to many of you on an individual basis, but we would like to take this opportunity to expand our audience.

We acknowledge the ideological divide between the left and the right in American politics, and even here on our own campus. Obama represents a singular figure who can bring an end to the bitter partisanship that has crippled Washington.

Disagreement isn’t a bad thing; disagreement is a cornerstone of democracy. But disagreement without healthy discussion only serves to entrench people in an us vs. them battle. Obama’s rhetoric and style allow him to listen empathically to his opposition, and respectfully disagree without suggesting his opponent’s views are without merit.

Making Washington more honest is essential to bringing people together. Obama is committed to a transparent government. Our biggest frustration with the situation in Washington is the secrecy. Policy hashed out behind closed doors by a select few serves to disenfranchise the average voter.

Obama helped pass legislation to create the Web site www.usaspending.gov. This Web site arranges government contracts in a transparent manner, allowing anyone to see exactly how his or her federal taxes are spent. This transparency is essential to rooting out the corruption in Washington.

Our generation has been regaled with stories from the past of public figures capable of inspiring in others the drive to improve themselves. Statesmen such as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. changed the nation and shaped a generation. Our generation has been yearning for such a figure to call its own.

We have been told that the youth demographic is unreliable, that we won’t turn out to the polls. We disagree. We simply have never had a candidate worth believing in. Obama gives us hope that we have the power to make a difference. In his own words, “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington . I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

Computer engineering senior Frank Sanchez, modern languages and literatures sophomore Molly Mcfarland and industrial engineering junior Conner Johnston are members of Cal Poly Students for Barack Obama and Mustang Daily guest columnists.

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