The State of Union address: bold and breaking new ground
By Roger Caldwell
“Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger,” said President Obama in his first State of the Union address since he has won his second term in office. Some of the president’s opponents cannot see the forest from the trees, and they believe that his speech is just rhetoric. But the president is aware that the American people made a choice in the 2012 election to continue down the road that he has initiated, and he now has a mandate.
President Obama is a change and transformational agent, and he has helped create more than 3 million jobs in the last 22 months, and six months before he took office the economy lost 4 million jobs. The president saved the auto industry, and the real estate market is starting to rebound. Whether one admires President Obama’s oratory skills, he can support his case with his record.
“The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules,” says the president.
America is at a cross-road, and in order to maintain leadership in technology, banking, and manufacturing, there is a need for groundbreaking research and innovation. In this speech the president established a blueprint for the next four years, and he is focused on American ingenuity. America is back and President Obama refuses to let dream killers stop his progress.
At the State of the Union address there was a 102-year-old Black woman named Desiline Victor who waited for six hours to cast her ballot in Miami, Florida. In this story, the president demonstrated the indomitable American spirit and when this woman received her sticker, the crowd at the polls applauded and congratulated her for not giving up. But on another level, this incident showed that our systems are broken, and our leaders are betraying our ideals by forcing citizens to wait for hours for a basic and fundamental right voting.
As a result of this embarrassing situation in our state, the president is proposing a bipartisan panel that will develop solutions so that voting problems are corrected. In education, President Obama proposed that every 4 year- old should receive quality child care, and high schools need to be redesigned to emphasize “real-world learning” and tighter accountability for colleges receiving federal aid.
He also shocked many Republicans when he stated if you work fulltime you should not live in poverty, and he is proposing to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This speech was a liberal call-to-arms, and he asked for more support for gay rights, and the Congress to address climate control.
The president is also asking the Congress for $50 billion in infrastructure spending and a partnership to promote clean energy and improve manufacturing. He also asked for legislation for comprehensive immigration reform, and he will bring home 34,000 American troops from Afghanistan.
But the most emotionally charged part of the speech was when the president began to talk about protecting our children and a common sense approach to gun reform and gun control. There were a dozen families at the address who had lost a member of their family to gun violence, or they had been shot. This was the part of the speech where the applause was the greatest, and there have been 1000 deaths by guns across the country in the last two months.
“If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote,” as President Obama made it clear what he believes.
This is an extremely ambitious and aggressive plan, but President Obama believes that he can ignite the true American spirit. The president has four years and he will need our support.