Labor Day weekend means two things for a student in the United States: summer is over and school starts Tuesday. While this holiday weekend allows for one last trip to the beach and a final barbecue with loved ones, a sense of anxiety seems to loom in the air and in between each crack of that Maryland Blue Crab. Forgotten summer reading books have yet to be read and that coveted North Face backpack still needs to be purchased. Although this is the first fall in 18 years that I will not be hitting the books, I still possess that same anticipation I felt entering my first year of college when I realized that I had a lot to learn with only four years to do so. However, I know I'm not alone. We all need a refresher this fall including President Barack Obama.
In the last year, it appears as though the president has forgotten the characteristics and has lost the charisma which got him elected in 2008. Evoking the terms "hope" and "change", the future president-elect seemed to give life to the democratic party. While Obama's plans for executing such change may have been vague, Democrats offered their support and college students rallied behind the freshman senator from Illinois under the belief that his youth and enthusiasm would bring a vigor to the White House amidst the backdrop of white, middle-aged suits who ran Washington. Despite his party allegiance, some Republican voters even believed that Obama was capable of making a bold and beneficial impression on the country.
Unfortunately, those themes that won Obama the election have yet to become a reality. The president's inaction in regards to real health care reform and to reducing the national debt has alienated his former allies in the Senate and House. Furthermore, the president's inability to work with Speaker of the House John Boehner has left Americans pessimistic. Obama appears disengaged and his recent speeches lack necessary leadership. His 2008 supporters are disillusioned and his initial critics are emboldened. While there is little time before the next election, I believe that Obama has enough opportunities in the upcoming months to prove himself. In order to take full advantage of these opportunities, I would like to assign the president one last summer reading book: Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, in the hope that he will adopt the lessons learned from reading it in his presidency. While reviewing this popular "How To" book, Obama will realize that in order to get Americans both in and out of office to route for him he must be genuine. He must listen, put his hubris aside, and assume responsibility for the last four years. Next, he will realize the importance of sincerely asking once again for the support of those who got him to the White House in 2008. This list includes his original allies in Congress as well as the young, once-apolitical voters who flocked to the voting booths four years ago. Lastly, in reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, the president will see that his legacy depends on his actions meaning he must propose and produce real solutions to the issues Americans truly care about even if they are not popular.