McCain proved his willingness to sacrifice for America

There is no doubt America needs a change in direction. We’re in trouble, fighting a rough economy and a war in a distant land.

The kind of change America needs will make the country stronger both economically and abroad, and though Sen. Barack Obama has made change the cornerstone of his campaign, promising to reshape government in a way we haven’t ever seen, only Sen. McCain offers the kind of change to lead America to a stronger future.

When it comes to foreign affairs, McCain has been sharp and clear, while Obama has been vague and naive. McCain knows the true threats facing our county’s security. He knows that Shia militias are violent in the most extreme way and Iran has been providing them with training, weapons and technology that kill American and Iraqi troops.

McCain is willing to deal with these issues directly, while Obama has been confused and unaware, saying Iran does not pose a significant threat to America, though he acknowledges that Iran is Israel’s greatest threat.

McCain has also shown sound judgment on national security issues throughout his career. He was right to call for the removal of Saddam Hussein, and when the war began to take a turn for the worse, he was right to call for a change in strategy.

Without McCain’s leadership, American soldiers could still be faced with the same perilous conditions in Iraq that pervaded the country before the surge. He was willing to acknowledge America’s mistakes before, and he realizes that pulling out now would be an even bigger one. After making so much progress, we cannot allow terrorist networks to establish strongholds in Iraq.

On the home front, McCain has demonstrated a clear vision for reviving the economy. His plan focuses on keeping the tax burden low and exploring our own energy resources. He wants to expand nuclear power production, which is much more powerful than solar or wind, and advance $2 billion in clean coal technologies.

He has showed sound judgment on the current economic crisis, calling for reform of corruption at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, before the subprime crisis began.

McCain has been tested in ways few men have, and it’s not just because he’s served in Congress since 1982. What really sets McCain apart is his character. After McCain’s plane was shot down during a bombing raid over Hanoi, North Vietnamese officials learned his father was a Navy admiral and offered him early release. McCain declined and endured five more years of excruciating torture.

The same determination and faith that allowed McCain to survive those dark years in prison guide the man to this day. Americans deserve no less than a president who has proved his commitment to American ideals, and not one who apologizes for them. Never will Americans question his pride in the country, and he will fight for those ideals to his last breath.

During his time in Congress, McCain has committed himself to clean government, fighting for full disclosure in lobbyist activities. Americans can be sure McCain would be committed to an ethical, transparent administration.

By the same token, no one has been a stronger opponent of wasteful spending, and McCain has vowed to veto pork-filled legislation.

Amid a harrowing financial crisis that includes a national debt of close to $10 trillion, Americans don’t need a president who plans to increase spending by leaps and bound, as Obama’s plan calls for. McCain’s disciplined approach will better see the nation through its tougher days.

No one should seek out the highest position in the country without first proving they are willing to sacrifice for it, and McCain has demonstrated this time and again, and as president, he would continue to do so.

David Hall, Valerie Hannon, Liz Sehon and Max Landman are students in an opinion writing class.