Change is the first bill I signed into law -- a law that says women deserve an equal day’s pay for an equal day’s work, because I want our daughters treated just like our sons.
Change is the decision we made to rescue an auto industry that was on the verge of collapse, even when some said let Detroit go bankrupt. One million jobs were at stake, so we weren’t going to let that happen. And today, GM is back on top as the world’s number one automaker, reported the highest profits in 100 years -- 200,000 new jobs over the last two and a half years. The American auto industry is back and it's making cars that are more fuel-efficient. So that’s helping the environment, even as we’re putting people to work.
Change is the decision we made to stop waiting for Congress to do something about our oil addiction. That’s why we finally raised our fuel-efficiency standards. By the middle of the next decade, we will be driving American-made cars that get almost 55 miles to a gallon -- saves the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump. That’s what change is.
Change is the fight we won to stop handing $60 billion in taxpayer giveaways to the banks who were processing student loans. We decided let’s give those student loans directly to students -- which meant we could make college more affordable to young people who need it. That’s what change is. That happened because of you.
And, yes, change is the health care reform that we passed after over a century of trying. Reform that will finally ensure that in the United States of America, no one will go broke just because they get sick. Already -- already 2.5 million young people now have health insurance who didn’t have it before because this law lets them stay on their parent's plan. Already millions of seniors are paying less for their prescription drugs because of this law. Already, Americans can’t be denied or dropped by their insurance company when they need care the most. Already, they’re getting preventive care that they didn’t have before. That’s happening right now.
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 you love, because we ended "don't ask, don't tell."
Change is the fact that for the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. We refocused our efforts on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And thanks to the brave men and women in uniform, al Qaeda is weaker than it has ever been. Osama bin Laden is no more. We’ve begun to transition in Afghanistan to put them in the lead, and start bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. That’s what change is...
...I know that for all the things we’ve done, we’ve still got so much undone. And sometimes the change we fought for hasn’t always come as fast as we wanted. And when you see what's been going on in Washington, I know it’s tempting sometimes to get discouraged, to kind of think, well, maybe change just isn’t possible. Maybe it was an illusion. But I want you guys to recall, I did say back in 2008, real change -- big change -- it’s hard. It takes time. It takes more than a single term and more than a single President. What it takes is ordinary citizens who are committed to keep fighting and to keep pushing, and inching us closer and closer and closer to our country’s highest ideals.
And you know something else I used to say in 2008 -- I said, I am not a perfect man -- Michelle will tell you that -- and I'll never be a perfect President. But I made a promise to you then that I would always tell you what I believed and I would always tell you where I stood, and I would wake up every single day fighting as hard as I know how for you. And I have kept that promise...
So if you’re willing to keep pushing with me through all the obstacles, through all the naysayers; if you’re willing to keep reaching for that vision of America that we all have talked about -- that commitment you didn’t just make to me or I made to you, but that we made to each other -- I guarantee you change will come.
- President Barack Obama, University of Vermont, March 30, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Posted by Nancy LeTourneau