Full disclaimer: I am loath to watch State of the Union speeches. But I did last night. For you.
So in no particular order, here’s a rambling of what’s going on in my mind concerning President Obama’s speech last night.
Also: I speak only for myself.
Let me begin on a nice note. I may disagree with almost all of Chief Justice Roberts’ judicial philosophies. But he always seems pleased to see POTUS. On a human (and heck, political) level, that’s—well, it’s reaffirming.
“It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.
This sounds like more Obama-style compromise. If you’re not clear on how Obama compromises, let me give you a scenario:
Ms. Smith: “I’d like five apples and a banana.”
Ms. Jones: “I’d like $3.50 for that.”
Ms. Smith: “Hm…”
Ms. Jones: “I have other customers at my lame fruit stand.”
Ms. Smith: “Here’s $3.49. Sorry I don’t have the right change. Oh, and here’s a banana for you, Ms. Jones.”
Okay, so maybe that’s unfair. But this is the President that promised to work for single-payer health care. When it came time, in 2010, to do something about the hemorrhaging wound that is America’s healthcare system, single-payer wasn’t even on the table in serious negations.
Negations are not Pres. Obama’s strong suit.
We need to grow the middle-class.
“Deficit reduction alone is not an economy plan!”
Yet earlier POTUS talked about “entitlements.”
Why are we using the language of the opposition? How are they entitlements if they’ve been earned? How are they entitlements if you live in a society that subscribes (or so I thought) to the Social Contract?
Kudos, though, to POTUS for talking seriously about global warming. I may not agree with all of what he said—but he went there. He talked about global warming, or, as some in the room thought magical garden gnomes riding on pink and purple unicorns.
[pause. Heavy sigh]
The country’s infrastructure needs improvements! Yes!
(What more can I say?! Isn’t this obvious?)
Let’s fix and maintain what we have! Oh, wait, that would be creating jobs…wait, didn’t he mention we need to create jobs here?
And a damn good high-quality preschool education for every child? Yes!
But I lose faith when POTUS says, “Send me that bill.”
Prove me wrong, Congress. Prove me wrong.
As for higher-education, POTUS mentioned that he’d like to cut costs so you can “can get the most bang for your educational buck.”
First of all, surrounded by all the green ribbons remembering and honoring the Newton, CT—was this really the only phrase the administration could think of? It seemed uncouth. Awkward. It was an unfortunate choice of words…and it demonstrates how ingrained guns are in our culture.
But that aside, making higher-ed affordable for all instead of the indentured servitude that it currently exists now sounds good.
No, it sounds fantastic.
Yet the way higher-ed is currently, we need to be certain any changes don’t become an open-door to exploit non-tenured faculty and graduate students.
Overall, the State of the Union address was a speech, plain and simple. It was nothing more, nothing less. I did not find President Obama’s words symbolic of change, of moving forward.
Raising the minimum wage is good, pre-school improvements are good, higher-ed affordability is good…but the lingering question is:
Will anyone do more than speak nice words?
Actions mean more than words. We’re all in this together: Get active.