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President George W. Bush ought to cringe every time he hears the word "change." The mantra coming from the mouths of both men campaigning for his job proves how eager the majority of Americans are to see him leave the White House and for a failed presidency to finally end.
No matter if you subscribe to Barack Obama's "Change we need" or John McCain's "Change is coming," all of us are looking for something new and hopefully better in our 44th president.
If only the election had been yesterday and Inauguration Day was today.
The stock market has crashed, erasing years of retirement and personal savings for many of us. Though our local banks continue to make sound loans, national credit markets are gummed up and many of us don't know where to put what money we still have. Millions in our nation fear for their jobs and wonder if the economic downtown circling the world won't cast us into a second Great Depression.
Who wouldn't want something new? In a few weeks, voters are going to have to decide for themselves who offers not just the most change, but the best type of change. Who will restore national confidence in our economy and raise the spirits of Americans who feel worse off today than they did eight years ago? Few of us can say we're better off.
According to polls, a majority of Americans feel Obama offers the best ideas for change. But others say McCain has the experience and ability to reach across political aisles to lead our nation to a brighter future. We'll leave it up to voters Nov. 4.
But never before have Americans been under siege on so many fronts.
Not only has our economy weakened, our standing in the world is hurting. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, secret prisons and allegations of torture and proven mistreatment of prisoners in our care have tarnished our image in a time of crisis when the United States should be the economic and moral hope for the rest of the world, not a superpower staggering to find its way in the darkness of economic crisis and war.
We can only pray a new president shows us the way. No matter who is elected, we need someone to usher in hope for Americans by reassuring them of the longterm viability of our economy and the United States' standing as the world's monetary leader, a nation with a military second to none and a people committed to setting the example when it comes to protecting civil liberties and democracy.
A new president, we hope, will push Iraqi leaders to take ownership of the security and sovereignty of their nation, something purportedly under way but still past due. Exiting Iraq responsibly will let our nation refocus our efforts on targeting the militants plotting to do us real harm, defend allies against a resurgent Russia and show the world that America's best days are yet ahead, not in the past.
What can Americans do now? Spend time listening to what Obama and McCain have to say. Tune in to Wednesday's debate and tune out the political spinsters or television commentators.
Quit listening to the political slurs of "liberal," "radical" and "right-wing." Ask yourself who is best to put America on a track of meaningful change. You decide who offers the best chance of hope to you, your family and your nation. Whatever you do, cast your vote. Then we can all daydream of Jan. 20, when a new president raises his hand and swears to defend our Constitution and our nation lifts its collective hand in farewell to George W. Bush.
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