In lieu of the Kennedys’ endorsement of presidential candidate Barack Obama, I’d like to formally announce my choice for president as well. Even though I assume my endorsement will carry as much sway as those prestigious politicos – which is probably none – I’ve been emboldened to at least try.

The country is at a turning point, where the greatness of a great nation is in question. We now face a fundamental choice in deciding what our future as Americans will be. And it’s really not the political or economic future of this nation that’s at stake here, but the future of every single one of us as Americans. The pressures of globalization are finally upon us, and we’re learning that even our international notoriety as trendsetters isn’t enough for us to compete in a now truly competitive global market. We’re now facing noticeable environmental consequences from our energy-reliant industrial culture. It doesn’t take a scientist to notice that it’s warmer this January than it was last year, and the year before that. The country is in a recession, and the pundits won’t say it for fear of scaring the American people. And unfortunately, we’re back to being black and white again, and I thought we were past that.

Now this may seem like a bleak picture, and it’s surely not the state of the Union Mr. Bush described Monday night, but clever wording and new speechwriters don’t fool me, Mr. President. But maybe it’s not his fault the country’s in jeopardy. I’d at least agree that our reputation has been severely tarnished by the war in Iraq, but the other systemic failures happening right how have largely nothing to do with him. The country is in jeopardy because we have forgotten what it’s like to be American, and how to walk proud about the world with no guilt or apologies. We’ve forgotten how to work hard for a dollar, and that simply being American doesn’t entitle you to prosperity. We’re seeing that now other countries like China are willing to work harder than us for less money, and in the process are displacing us from our comfortable spot at the top.

The state of the Union is rough, but it’s not hopeless or beyond repair. There’s a critical choice to be made on Feb. 5, and another this November. Do we elect another generic and calculating president whose sole mission is to gain American strategic advantage, or one who can inspire us to work hard for a better American life? Do we elect a president who has been seasoned with political tradition, or someone who’s been untouched by the vices and habits of typical politicians? Do we elect someone who thinks war is a tool of foreign policy, or who believes in the art of negotiation? Do we elect someone who’s lived life from the upper echelons of high society, or one who’s worked hard every day of his life and seen every rung on the ladder of achievement in America? Do we elect someone who will simply take the job of president, or someone who will every day serve Americans from dusk till dawn?

A president like the latter could engage all of us in bettering America. He could inspire hope, hard work, pride, patriotism, equality and civility, and re-engrain those fundamental American characteristics we may be losing. A president like that would make us trust and believe in our government, rather than be skeptical and pessimistic toward it. That president would unite us as a nation – and be someone who would stand with us as we embrace and adjust to globalization, as opposed to someone who’d watch and direct from above. While the pressures of a changing world mount around us, we must choose between a conventional president and a visionary.

There’s only one man who can help us change the way we do things, and if you give him the chance, he’ll do it from the top down, and we’ll do it from the ground up. We’ll meet in the middle, and there’s a better America there. So I announce my personal endorsement for a candidate of change and hope. I, Jordan Pokross, endorse Barack Obama for president. Do you have any spare Change?