Maybe There Is Hope

Back in 1980, just one week before the general election at a debate against President Jimmy Carter, challenger Ronald Reagan ended the night with one of the most brilliantly executed parting shots at the incumbent when he looked into the camera and asked Americans this question:

“Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

I was only 13 years at the time but I remember how things changed at the moment Reagan asked that question. A week later Carter was defeated.

I keep going back to this question as I watch Obama and McCain fight for the right to lead our country. Am I better off today than I was 4 years ago when Bush began his 2nd term? How about 8 years ago? In same respects I’m better off and others I’m worse off. Eight years ago I didn’t think much about health care or retirement, but after 4 children in 7 years, I’ve given a lot more thought to both. Health care scares me as the costs continue to climb at a pace much faster than my salary.

I listen and both Obama and McCain, and I hear them toss out buzzword after buzzword that works the crowds into a frenzy. But I don’t have a clue what they mean or how it will help my family. I don’t know what they mean when they speak of “change” tossed into every other sentence. I don’t like where President Bush has taken this country, but I’d like to hear specifics instead of tossing out meaningless buzzwords.

I look forward to watching the debates between these two candidates. It’s difficult to watch Obama and not be impressed with his speaking skills and charisma. I have no idea how either would factor into making him a better leader of this country anymore than it would for me to vote for McCain based on his heroism as a former POW.

But there’s something about Obama that gives me hope. Hope for a better next four years compared to the last four. Maybe I’ll have the same feelings for McCain when I hear him speak more than I have. But right now I’m having a difficult time casting a vote for another Republican given where we stand after 8 years of Bush. Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?

4 thoughts on “Maybe There Is Hope

  1. I’m a lot better off than I was eight years ago, or four years ago, or one year ago.

    The next President’s job is not to make my life better. It’s to make it less-worse. A President who did absolutely nothing would be rather lovely at this point. If Obama inches the country closer to socialized medicine, my life will be a lot worse. I am currently just fine paying out of pocket for my own private health insurance.

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  2. I’m better off now than I was eight years ago, but only because I made it that way. Every change that has been made in my family’s life was a positive one… Moving to a new town, buying a house, having a second child.

    But the Prez and his policies had nothing to do with any of that. I can’t think of one thing Bush has done while in office that could’ve made my life better. No, all the good stuff in my life right now would’ve happened regardless of who was in office.

    I can see how Obama gives people hope, just because he’s not the same old same old. Give him time, a few months or a few years, and he’ll be doing things the way they always do things in Washington.

    And I won’t count on anybody but myself to make my life better.

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  3. Brett,
    We loved this post. We feel exactly the same way. We’ve been Republicans for a long time, but there’s something about today’s world that leads us to believe Obama would be a better leader for our country. We’re gravitating toward Obama’s message of hope and change versus McCain’s message of another four years of status quo. The only thing that may sway us at this point is if McCain selects Romney as his running mate. Thanks for this great post!
    The Averetts

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