Filed under Election2012, Opinion

Flames of The Torch

Now that the election is finally over, we can start to move on from the petty partisan politics of the past of the last 17 months. Now is time to move on from what’s in Mitt Romney’s binders, or if President Obama thinks you built that.

Now is the time for action, for work to be done to continue to boost our fragile economic recovery, while at the same time promoting fairness and equality in the U.S.

With that in mind, here are four issues we at the Torch are looking for President Obama and Congress to tackle in the next four years.

Climate Change:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy endorsed President Barack Obama for his record on climate change.

But all things considered, he hasn’t done anything too drastic to change the status quo. Obama has been mum on the issue of climate change while on the campaign trail. On top of that, he’s chosen to ignore anything about climate change, putting matters such as cap and trade on the back burner in favor of other issues.

After Hurricane Sandy, we now have an example of how real climate change is. We no longer have to look to the distant melting ice caps in the arctic to show the effects it’s had on the planet, just look in your own backyard, or if you’re one of the fortunate ones turn on the Weather Channel (if you still have power).

Although it’s impossible to reverse the effects of climate change in his next four years, Obama needs to set the trend of politicians taking the matter seriously.

Immigration:

St. John’s is the second most diverse school in the nation and, as such, students are more often connected to the issue of immigration than not.

President Obama began the process of immigration reform this year by starting an amnesty program that allows young illegal immigrants to apply for work visas, allowing them to stay in the U.S. for two years. Last night, the President was propelled to a victory, in part, due to overwhelming support from the Latino community.

This shows that people have confidence that he will follow through on promised major immigration reform for the long-term. This solution must include a plan for the immigrants already in the country that doesn’t demonize them and a straightforward idea for an efficient and fair immigration process.

This country was built on immigrants and continues to see the benefits of having them, but we must figure out a fair way to handle people seeking a better life humanely and equally. If the President manages to do that, he will receive praise from most corners of the country. If he doesn’t, there will be many disappointed voters who trusted him not to back down from the hope of four years ago.

Rising Prices of Higher Education:

As college students, this is our main concern. By the time our junior and senior years roll around and we look at the landscape of jobs in our country, we start to wonder whether or not the investment we made was worth it.

For students who are about to apply for college, they also look at the same landscape that we are, instead they ask themselves whether or not the investment will be worth it.

What we need from the president is to continue the pivotal funding for federal loans and grants, keep the interest rates of loans down and to extend the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which would give a $10,000 tax credit for individuals and families paying for college.

With so many families, predominantly in the middle class, paying out of pocket for their children’s college tuition, if these issues are tackled, we will once again be on top in world of higher education and we will be a better country because of it. But first, we need to properly invest in it.

Women’s rights:

What pushed the president over the edge in his bid for reelection is his popularity with women, spurred in no small part by the GOP’s backward thinking.

Romney was unable to divorce himself from party crazies like Todd Akin and his infamous “legitimate rape” comments, and looked silly when he dodged a question about whether he supported the legislation guaranteeing equal pay for equal work for women.

The Republicans look like they are on the wrong side of history on women’s issues like contraception and fair pay, and they don’t look like they’re switching sides anytime soon.

The president was reelected because he was a champion of women’s rights. There’s no reason for him not to continue fighting for true gender equality in the U.S.

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