Op-ed: A Student Among the 47%

The former president of the College Democrats of America, and Democratic National Convention speaker takes umbrage at Mitt Romney's comments about nearly half of the country.



Students like me aren’t taking out student loans because we want a handout. Quite the opposite. We are trying to create lives for ourselves. President Obama believes in equality and fairness for all Americans. That’s why he’s made college affordability a priority by doubling the amount of student loans so that 9.5 million students are able to obtain a college education. He’s given 9.4 million families like mine a $10,000 tax credit so that we can afford college and enter the work force with the knowledge and skills to be a productive contributor to our economy.

After law school, I hope to pursue a career as a criminal prosecutor. President Obama is dedicated to public service and creating opportunities for young people who take responsibility for our loans and make our monthly payments by providing student loan forgiveness after 10 years of public service work. Our president understands that young people who will one day teach our children, protect our communities, and fight for us overseas make our country stronger. On the contrary, Mitt Romney has publicly said that we don’t need to hire more cops, firefighters, or teachers.

President Obama understands what it’s like to be in our shoes and had stood up for the causes that matter most to our generation. And as a member of the LGBT community, I could not be prouder that we have seen more progress under this administration than ever before.

The Affordable Care Act will ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, stable health insurance, and because of the law, insurers will no longer be allowed to turn me away because of my sexual orientation. If my partner or I were to ever become ill, President Obama has ensured that we have visitation rights at nearly every hospital in America.

President Obama overcame years of partisan gridlock to sign the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, which extends federal hate-crimes law to cover attacks based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

And on May 9, 2012, millions of LGBT Americans and allies will never forget where they were when President Obama affirmed his personal support for same-sex marriage and in doing so sent a profound message that the love I have for my partner is no less than the love between and a man and woman.

The choice couldn’t be more clear for Americans this November. So while Mitt Romney may disregard 47% of the country, we have a president who believes in equality and opportunity for all. President Obama’s got our back, and I know young Americans are going to work to make sure we’ve got his.


Salinas is a law student at Boston College.

Tags: Commentary