Hope for the future

Democratic voters will have a tough choice on Tuesday. Two candidates have spent the better part of the past few years preparing for a run for the presidency, and each present the country with an opportunity to break down barriers and represent a sharp departure from the policies of the last eight years.

But the question we believe Democrats need to ask themselves before they go to the polls is what campaign will truly make America better.

Who is more likely to motivate citizens who have never participated in the process before to get involved?

Who is most likely to inspire our leaders to work together?

For representing the best chance Democrats have to pull this country out of the partisan doldrums and to expand the reach of the party, The Daily Illini endorses Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Of course, we are not the first Illinois newspaper to endorse our home-state senator, nor the first college paper. But the longer the race goes on, it becomes increasingly apparent that his campaign represents what we should all strive for.

Much has been made of the intangible quality that surrounds the former state senator, but his appeal is concrete. He represents something new, something different and someone whose message has not been overshadowed by entitlement.

What really qualifies someone to be president is up to each voter. But any good president must maintain an integrity that conveys respect for the voters, respect for the office and above all, respect for those that disagree. At this point, we have no doubts about Obama. The same cannot be said for Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Part of Obama’s appeal is that he speaks to our future potential, not to the arguments won or lost in the past.

Those arguments, cited by Clinton as her experience during her husband’s administration, will be irrevocably linked to any action she takes as president.

Frankly, the bad blood between Republicans and Democrats will not be dispelled by a second Clinton administration, especially since the former president looks to be a driving force in his wife’s decision-making process.

The Democratic Party will best benefit from a president who can inspire Republicans and Democrats to reach higher than we ever have before. Obama’s candor and behavior during the campaign thus far has given us confidence that he will work the hardest to make things better and not just to get a political victory.

Our leaders should be required to inspire the best in each of us, regardless of party. If Obama can’t, then we don’t know who will.