Téa Obreht
Téa Obreht was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve. Her New York Times bestselling debut novel The Tiger’s Wife won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a 2011 National Book Award Finalist.

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REASON 72: Obama signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act, a bipartisan bill that brings greater accountability to American defense spending.

As an immigrant who grew up on the threshold of war, I believe in a government’s responsibility to protect the freedoms, rights, and safety of its people. But I also believe that fear-mongering is the greatest sin an administration can commit—that encouraging intolerance and assuming a preemptively defensive posture in the face of every disagreement only deepens the divide between a country and its allies and opponents alike. Sacrificing our economy in the hopes of outwitting, outnumbering, and outgunning potential enemies is the surest way to call them to conflict. By signing the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act, a bipartisan bill that brings greater accountability to American defense spending, President Obama not only established a mechanism that preserves billions of taxpayer dollars, cutting unnecessary spending and refining the government’s weapons acquisition system, but he extended a hand to the rest of the world. He demonstrated that Americans have faith in humanity, rationality, and understanding.

It’s easy to be diplomatic when the subtext of every debate is “mine is bigger than yours.” It’s another thing altogether to work toward eliminating the debate itself. 2008 was the first year strangers abroad started high-fiving me in the street when I identified myself as an American. I hope to spend the next four years high-fiving cab drivers, grocery clerks, bank tellers, and teachers from here to Reykjavik—which, if Big Bird gets to keep his job, kids may actually be able to find on a map.

Téa Obreht
 New York, New York

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