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Anthony Barsamian:
2011 Winner
Townsend Harris High School

Anthony Barsamian

Winning Essay

Americans Still Await Obama’s Hoped-For Change

Barack Obama’s election signified a monumental change in American history. As the first president of African American descent, he broke through all previous race and color barriers. His election is a milestone in the battle for equality and the concept that all men are created equal. Yet the promise of his theme of hope and change quickly faded into despair and hopelessness. It is said that hope is eternal. Obama the candidate spoke eloquently of hope and change. But instead of hope and optimism, disappointment has been the common theme of the public’s perception of the Obama presidency.

The healthcare issue has been among the biggest disappointments so far in Obama’s term. Affordable health care for all was a cornerstone of Candidate Obama’s platform. The campaign was full of hope for positive change and promises of health care for all at a price everyone could afford. Instead, President Obama’s program, now referred to derogatorily as “Obama Care”, will raise the overall cost of health care for most Americans and, with many businesses threatening to lower employee coverage, has jeopardized health insurance for many others.

Healthcare “reform” leaves many middle-class Americans with no change. These people, a majority of the population of the nation, are unable to afford expensive health care, even though Obama aimed at making it affordable. Also, the numerous businesses claiming that they will be unable to afford coverage for employees at such a high cost have put the already hurting financial sphere of the country in even more tight spots. Many believe that Obama Care will lead to care rationing and long lines at provider’s offices. This is not a change for the better.

Obama also pushed for economic change. He pledged to deliver a robust economy with jobs for all who desired or needed to work. Instead, at the midpoint of the Obama presidency, America is saddled with higher taxes and consistently higher unemployment. People were promised jobs, but instead found they were struggling to feed their families. Obama’s stimulus package has not aided the Americans who need the money the most, the middle- and working-class sectors of the economy. Instead, this money has become virtually lost to the American public. The number of chronically unemployed is steadily rising. This was not the sort of change Americans bargained for when they elected Obama president.

While middle- and working-class Americans have lost ground, taxes have risen sharply during these past two years. At a time when the nation is suffering the most, Obama’s administration has allowed for an increase in taxes, despite his campaign promise of lower taxes. Instead of families being able to save money, even in a globally troubled economy, money is being sucked into the Washington budget, which has not lessened. Rather, the federal deficit has risen, another unbeneficial change for Americans.

The biggest, and most significant, change under Obama’s tenure is the turnover in the United States House of Representatives. Upon the president’s inauguration, Congress was solidly Democrat. Less than two years later, the Republicans now control the House of Representatives. The issues that will arise from this divided government in the future remain unknown. However, what is known is that many Obama-supported bills will be locked away from debate on the House floor and possible passage. Therefore, any positive changes Obama could have made are now hopelessly blocked.

While Obama started his presidency with overwhelming support, he has squandered his mandate. American voters have lost confidence in the concepts of change he asked the electorate to embrace. It is difficult to say whether Obama will provide any positive change before his term is over. However, as is seen in reviewing this country’s rich history, one can never be too sure of anything. So, while Obama’s “change” has been aimed in the wrong direction, there is time for improvement. Still, this will be a gravely difficult task. One thing is for sure: by the end of 2010, the midpoint of Obama’s term, the change that throngs of Americans were hoping for in 2008 has yet to be delivered.



Anthony Barsamian is a lifelong resident of Queens, New York. He attended the William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Flushing until the eighth grade. He is currently a senior at Townsend Harris High School in Flushing. He is very active both inside his school and in his outside community. Anthony is an Intel Science Talent Search 2011 Semifinalist for his cancer research project, The effect of autophagy, apoptosis, and Nrf2 on DNA damage in mouse cells at 0, 24, and 48 hours under ischemia. He is the Technical Secretary of his school’s Science Olympiad Club and also a member of the Science Olympiad team. He is co-President of the Model United Nations club of Townsend Harris. Anthony is an editor of the Quantum Cat, his school’s science journal. He is also involved in student council activities. As a sophomore, he was the Freshman-Sophomore Vice President. In his junior and senior year, he was a Queens Student Advisory Council representative of his school. Anthony is a member of his school’s Arista and Archon Honor Societies. He is also a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the mathematical society, and the New York State Science Honor Society. He received an Honorable Mention from the B’nai B’rith Diverse Minds Writing Challenge for a children’s book that he co-authored and co-illustrated. He has volunteered his time at Alley Pond Environmental Center for much of his high school career. Anthony also volunteered at the Queens Borough President’s Office. Anthony enjoys travelling within and outside the United States. He especially enjoys the challenge of learning new languages. He has studied Greek, Spanish, and Latin. In his sophomore and junior years, he received the Gold Medal Summa Cum Laude for his mastery of the Latin language. Anthony is very proud to be a recipient of the Firefighter Christopher A. Santora Educational Scholarship Fund, a scholarship in memory of a brave and honorable firefighter.


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