Obama’s time to shine is now

By Emma Claire Sohn

Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? How about your first concert? Can you remember the butterflies that flew into your stomach on your first kiss? These events are landmarks in my brief life history as well, but right along side them runs a sleeted night I spent in the shade of blue and white campaign signs at the McKinley Foundation on the eve of the 2004 presidential election. Alright, maybe I’m subscribing to liberal media hype, but Barack Obama, who gave the keynote that evening emanated enough energy to captivate this art major’s attention, sparking a lasting interest in the political realm. And how could one not be enchanted by the charming junior senator from Illinois?

Obama’s biography is akin to a Hollywood script, with a movie star grin to match. But our senator’s skyrocketing status as a political celebrity has merit beyond the common gossip rag. I am most impressed not by the recent paparazzi shots of our sun-bathing senator’s well-defined torso, but instead by the everyman-honesty and confidence that he consistently exudes. Obama has the audacity to celebrate his own humanity, a quality uncharacteristic of most politicians. He is uninhibited by his past choices, be them wise or misguided. Obama serves as an ideal candidate in part because he beats the muckraking media at their own game, accepting past mistakes like a brief experiment with drug use during his younger years before they even had reason to take notice. Everyone makes mistakes, but admittance is a true sign of character.

The United States is desperate for his breed of vivacious leadership, something Sen. Obama has proven through his life history and political endeavors. Most notably he spoken out against this unjust, unmerited and unnecessary war before it was in vogue and long before people like say, Hilary Clinton, were finally assuaged by voters into seeing the light. And his efforts in domestic education reform are rivaled only by his advocacy for HIV prevention abroad. Above all, Obama provides the nation with a much-needed breath of fresh air. His inexperience serves him well in this manner, contrasting our glib history with the Bush administration. The country needs someone like Obama, a far cry from the leadership we have endured for the past six years.

And his time is now. The country can not maintain their fixation with the Senator for another term. If this man is ever to be president, it is in 2008. Some skeptics question if Obama’s political experience is on par with our past leaders, while others claim his rhetoric lacks coherence and definitive strategy. I challenge these critics to find another presidential hopeful with a clear plan in regards to the majority of the nation’s key ailments.

The true test of any presidential candidate will come as they establish their respective agendas closer to the election. But if Obama maintains the integrity he has brought to Illinois politics in his presidential campaign, he will earn my vote.