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Thursday, August 28, 2014 | Last updated: 6:07am

Obama needs to tighten up policies with second term



This election season has been a long and tiresome one — just ask Colorado phenomenon Abigael Evans.

The 4-year-old star of a YouTube video gone viral was on her way to the grocery store with her mother when she was reduced to tears by a particularly grueling NPR segment about “Bronco ‘Bama” and Mitt Romney.

It’s probably safe to assume that we’ve all felt that way at some point. After nearly two years of wall-to-wall election coverage and political advertisements up the wazoo, even the most seasoned political junkies should be fighting the urge to sob uncontrollably.

Now that our votes have been counted and the proverbial die has been cast, we can all heave a sigh of relief and revel in the fact that our country just elected the next leader of the free world.

Barack Obama has his work cut out for him — not just domestically, but internationally as well. The U.S. economy, while it has improved marginally in the past four years, is still in need of effective stewardship, and the international system is more volatile than ever.

America is in need of an effectual and judicious president who will lead the country in to the future.

ENERGY

Clean energy should be a top priority for the next administration.

If you need proof that global warming has reached a tipping point, look no further than the extent of the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, the most powerful hurricane to hit the Northeast region in a generation.

At the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America held earlier this week, scientists agreed that although climate change had not caused the storm, climate models suggest storms like Sandy will become more intense as the planet warms. If the nation doesn’t make a serious effort to cut carbon emissions, there will be more Hurricane Sandys to come.

EDUCATION

Still more pressing is the state of America’s education system.

Although U.S. universities are among the highest ranked in the world, we still trail most western industrialized countries in the subjects of math and science.

If we want to produce another generation of American innovators, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, we’ve got to strengthen our public school math and science curriculums and encourage colleges to provide more financial and academic support to students who major in fields related to engineering and technology.

THE ECONOMY

The unemployment rate ticked up from 7.8 percent to 7.9 percent in October, but there was still a net gain of 171,000 jobs.

There is no questioning the fact that the economic situation in this country has improved relative to most western countries. Given the havoc austerity policies have wreaked in the European Union, it is clear that the Obama administration’s Keynesian approach to economic recovery has served the country well.

For the next four years, we’ll need a president who will sustain and build upon the progress that we’ve made while addressing the nation’s debt in a way that doesn’t place an exorbitant tax burden on middle class workers.

FOREIGN POLICY

Although coverage of the election has succeeded in shoving international crises to the backburner, foreign policy and international relations are still of high priority.

The death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya is proof that America’s diplomatic inroads in the Middle East have yet to bear fruit. What’s more, ongoing unrest in Syria, the threat of nuclear Iran and America’s deteriorating relationship with Israel is anything but reassuring.

Neither saber-rattling nor “leading from behind” will restore America’s image abroad. Restraint and non-interventionism coupled with the courage to stand up to those who threaten international peace should be the creed of our next president and his state department.

What has made our country so great and enduring is that we’ve always believed that our best days lie ahead of us, regardless of whether our president is an ill-experienced businessman and former governor or a funny-looking guy named “Bronco ‘Bama.”

The next four years will not only test the worthiness of our political system, but will determine whether or not the United States can once again rise to the occasion when its challenges seem insurmountable.

— Nyles Kendall is a political science senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .


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