With less than two weeks until November 4, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama are both fiercely campaigning in an effort to sway undecided voters. As college students living in uncertain times, we feel certain that Obama is the best candidate for the presidency. Senator Obama, in addition to possessing the courage and intelligence needed to lead the country, has laid out policies that will benefit college students in the years to come.
Though discussion about education has taken a backseat in the months leading up to Election Day, Senators Obama and McCain each have laid out plans to address educational issues. Both candidates propose simplifying the financial aid application process?a wise decision, as any Bowdoin student who filled out the FAFSA can attest. However, the McCain plan fails to specify any key steps beyond that, while Obama addresses a number of other important issues.
First, Obama would provide families with a tax credit of $4,000 to help cover college tuition, in exchange for 100 hours of community service. While the money might not go far in covering the cost of Bowdoin, it will cover a large portion of tuition for students attending public universities or community colleges. In addition, Obama has pledged to expand Pell Grants?which more than 200 Bowdoin students receive?at the pace of rising college tuition costs.
For students worried about entering the job market in a turbulent economy, the Obama campaign has committed to expanding the number of AmeriCorps positions from 75,000 to 250,000, as well as plans to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers by 2011. As has been discussed in the debates, Obama also intends to create five million new "green jobs." Bowdoin students have shown a clear dedication to this issue and would be well-prepared to tackle the issue of clean energy.
Obama has outlined extensive plans for a number of other contentious issues, and we encourage students to do their homework. However, with regard to issues that are crucial to our generation, Obama is the clear choice for president. We are lucky to have the educational opportunities that Bowdoin provides, and we ought to ensure that others have those chances as well. Obama provides the best shot at ensuring affordable higher education and a brighter economic future.
Though the focus of much media attention?and this editorial?has been on the presidential race, students ought not to ignore the other contests and ballot questions. The winners of the senate race between Tom Allen and Susan Collins, as well as the congressional race between Chellie Pingree and Charlie Summers, will represent Maine in Washington, and their votes there will have an impact on all residents of this nation. Therefore, we encourage students to vote in both these races, and to take advantage of upcoming opportunities to educate themselves about the candidates. We'll be at Studzinski for next Thursday's debate between Pingree and Summers, and we hope to see many of you there.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient?s editorial board, which comprises Nick Day, Nat Herz, Mary Helen Miller, and Cati Mitchell.