President Obama visited Golden as part of his campaign the morning of September 13th. The event was held at Lions Park in downtown Golden with the first speakers starting around 10:15 AM. Among the speakers prior to Obama was ex-US Senator and Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, who claimed Obama is suited for another four years because he can relate to the American people. “He knows what it’s like to have to juggle things like having to pay off your student loans…so you know he has walked in your shoes”. Salazar went on to list Obama’s accomplishments in office, including eliminating banks as middlemen in student loans, reforming healthcare so students can stay on their parent’s health insurance until the age of twenty-six and pursuing an “All of the Above” energy approach to reduce dependence on foreign oil. “We are now importing less oil than at any time in the last three decades in the United States of America,” said Obama.
After an introduction by a local high school English teacher, President Obama took the podium. Acknowledging the nearly eight thousand supporters, Obama asked how the citizens of Golden ever got work done as he gestured to the mountains and the clear blue sky. After lamenting about not being able to go down a nearby water slide, due to Secret Service objections, President Obama grew solemn as he reported the deaths of four Americans killed during an attack on a diplomatic post in Libya. The heroism of those who serve, whether in uniform or as civilian diplomats, is often overlooked but their sacrifices allows for the liberty and security Americans enjoy today. Often Americans take security and freedom for granted and don’t understand a world where people are afraid to say anything remotely resembling dissent against their government. While it is difficult to see such things in the news, the world is filled with challenges that together we can conquer, said Obama.
This idea of togetherness was a central idea in Obama’s speech. America is made up of a collection of people from all around the world who founded the country based on the idea that all men and women were created equal. These inalienable rights are not just for Americans, but they are universal and held by every human being on Earth. Being created equal, every American has a say in how the country is run and that, Obama claimed, was why he was there.
The American people have been presented with two plans on how to run America for the next four years, said the president. Obama’s plan is to restore a strong middle class by providing tax cuts for those that make less than $250,000 and fairly taxing those that make more. Obama runs under a basic bargain that everybody gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and hard work gets rewarded. Although progress is slow, and there is much further to go, Obama believes the answer does not lie with the promises made by the Republican Party, namely tax cuts for the millionaires. Whether in good times, bad times, peace or war, tax cuts for the upper class and increased military spending ultimately fall to the middle class to foot the bill. Obama promised to give tax cuts to those who need it, including small businesses and the typical middle-class family. By focusing on tax cuts for the middle-class, Obama claimed companies will create American jobs. In addition to the extra money saved, people can afford to spend money, giving businesses more customers. The economy gets stronger not “from the bottom up, but from the middle out”.
Education was another of Obama’s key points. By eliminating banks as middlemen for student loans and giving a ten thousand dollar tax credit over four years to families with college students, the US can produce more scientists, engineers, teachers, and specialized laborers so US companies don’t have to look for workers overseas because they cannot find those with the right skills.
Job creation is located primarily in the emerging energy economy. Home grown energy such as solar and wind generated power is an important foundation, but is not the end all solution, said Obama. Being efficient with energy, including oil and gas, is one of the most important steps. This has led to the revival of the auto industry and Obama claimed the US is on its way to making cars that run twice as far on a gallon of gas. This dedication to efficiency has dramatically increased jobs in the automotive industry sector, and it can continue to improve that industry.
The 2008 election was about change for America. For the 2012 election, Obama seeks to continue on the path of change and forward momentum. Every person’s voice matters and if that mentality is lost, then others will fill the gap with negative ads and “the same old sales pitches.”
While he criticized his opponents like most politicians do, Obama focused more on the solution than the problems America is facing. He acknowledges the difficult road ahead but backs up his promises with the progress he has already made. The American Dream is still alive within President Obama, citing his roots as a “mixed kid born to a single mom” but with the opportunity of an education and hard work, he rose to become President of the United States. President Obama pledges to open more doors for those who are willing to work hard and walk through them.
“That’s what I’m asking–that you keep moving forward”.