Last Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, marked President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address. However, because we are entering the heat of our midterm exam period, there is a chance that the majority of you were unable to tune in for the hour-long special broadcast.
Perhaps several of you had sufficient time to tune in but prefer not to watch Obama speak or just cannot stomach an entire hour of pure politics. In any case, I will provide you with a recap of the speech and its most important political implications and proposals.
After opening the speech by echoing the words of John F. Kennedy that “the constitution makes us partners for promise,” Obama went into a long laundry list of self-affirmations and ringing self-endorsements. For example, Obama took responsibility for successes ranging anywhere from the return of our troops to our decrease in the use of foreign fuel to an improvement in the housing market.
In between identifying success after success, Obama was sure to return to a recurring motif of his speech – the importance of a “thriving middle class” and the fact that “the state of our union is strong.”
After describing exactly how his office has improved the “state of our union” thus far, Obama then went into a lengthy agenda of initiatives, proposals, and plans for his upcoming term.
Before listing a number of new initiatives and propositions to his audience, Obama declared his agenda for “opening the doors of opportunity for every child in this great nation.”
Obama assured his audience that he will do so in numerous ways. First, he emphasized the need to make important budget decisions immediately. He claimed that we can resolve the budget deficit by “getting ahead” and “reigniting the middle class.”
The president proposes we do so by pushing tax reform, securing retirement, making America the manufacturing center of the world, creating a highly competitive engineering and science foundation that has not been seen since the “space race,” producing more natural gas, reducing further climate change, improving clean energy, passing a “Fix-it-First” infrastructure program that will ensure the repair of damaged architecture, creating a high-quality preschool initiative, ensuring more high schools with joint associate degrees offered, passing a new minimum wage proposal of $9.00 per hour while tying minimum wage to cost of living, and comprehensive immigration reform.
Needless to say, President Obama and Congress have their work cut out for them.
After naming an excess of new plans and proposals to the audience, the likes of which received equal eye-rolls and standing ovations, Obama entered into the home stretch of his State of the Union Address by essentially poking Congress members with a stick and reiterating the American paradigm that we are in fact the “beacon” of the world and are all “citizens of the greatest country in the world.”
Obama cheekily challenged congressmen to send him the legislation that will control gun laws and ensure fair pay to women and that he will sign each bill without hesitation. “They deserve a vote,” he urged.
Obama concluded his speech by reemphasizing the idea that “children are our most precious resource” and that “we can get this done.”
Overall, the speech was articulate, thoughtful, and intelligent. Once again, President Obama showed us his deserving role in the political sphere as a powerful speaker; however, only time will tell if Obama’s many plans will materialize into American reality, if Congress will cooperate, or if, once again, the American people are being fed empty promises by another politician.