What Change Looks Like
What does change look like? We can't say it any better than President Obama, speaking recently in New York:
Three years later, because of what you did in 2008, we have already started to see what change looks like.
Think about it. Change is the first bill I signed into law -- a law that says you get an equal day's work -- somebody who puts in an equal day's work should get equal day's pay -- because our daughters should be treated just like our sons and have the same opportunities. That's change.
Change is the decision we made to rescue the auto companies from collapse, even when some politicians were saying we should let Detroit go bankrupt. Change is more than 1 million jobs that we saved, and the local businesses that are picking up again -- and the fuel-efficient cars that are now rolling off the assembly lines with that word, Made In America, stamped on them.
Change is the decision we made to stop waiting for Congress to do something about our addiction to oil and finally raise fuel-efficiency standards for the first time in 30 years. And because of that, by the next decade, we'll be driving cars that get 55 miles a gallon -- at least. That's what change is.
Change is the fight we won to stop handing out $60 billion worth of tax subsidies to banks and put that $60 billion into student loans. And today, millions of students are getting more help going to college at a time when they need it most. That's because of your work in 2008.
Change is health care reform that we passed after a century of trying. Reform that will finally ensure that in the United States of America, nobody is going to go bankrupt because they get sick. And you've got a million young people who are already with health insurance today, on their parent's plan because of the laws that we passed. Change is the millions of Americans who can no longer be denied or dropped from their health insurance at a time when they need the care the most. That's what change is.
Change is the fact that for the first time in history, you don't have to hide who you love in order to serve the country that you love -- ending "don't ask, don't tell." Change is keeping one of the first promises I made in 2008: By the end of December, the war in Iraq will be officially over, our troops are coming home. They will be rejoining their families for the holidays.
And it hasn’t made us weaker; it's made us stronger. We've refocused our efforts on the terrorists who actually carried out 9/11. And thanks to our brave men and women in uniform, al Qaeda is weaker than it has ever been and Osama bin Laden will never walk this Earth again. That's because of what you did in 2008.
A lot of this wasn’t easy. Some of it was risky. It came in the face of tough opposition and powerful lobbyists and special interests who spent millions of dollars to keep things the way they were. It's no secret that the steps we took haven’t always been politically popular with the crowd in Washington. But all this progress was made because of you. Because you stood up and made your voices heard. Because you knocked on doors, and you made phone calls and sent out emails. And you kept up the fight for change long after the election was over.
You should be proud of what got done. It should make you hopeful. But it can't make us complacent -- because everything that we fought for during the last election, and everything that we still have to do to make sure this country gives a fair shot to everybody, is at stake in 2012. Every single thing that we care about is at stake in this next election. The very core of what this country stands for is on the line. The basic promise that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, this is a place where you can make it if we try.