President Obama gave his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, and ooooo-weeee was it good. No matter how you feel about the man, it’s impossible to deny that his oratory skills are a huge part of what got him where he is today. In my opinion, last night’s speech didn’t disappoint. At the end of the night, I found myself singing I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free… under my breath as I washed my face and brushed my teeth.
If you didn’t catch it last night, it’s available here, and if you’ve got a free hour, I highly recommend watching it. If nothing else, it’s a great summary of everything going on in our country right now so you can get caught up on all the main points that will affect you moving forward.
Like almost every State of the Union, the president focused on the unity of the American people and the necessity for cooperation to solve future challenges.
“Those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious… and that’s a good thing,” he said. But “Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater—something more consequential than party or political preference. We are part of the American family.”
The challenge “the American family” is facing is how to continue to be competitive in the globalized economy. “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” the president argued.
How will we do this? By allocating government funds towards research and innovation (“What we can do—what America does better than anyone else- is spark the creativity and imagination of our people”), improving education through state-based initiatives, tackling the issue of immigration (“let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people… who could be further enriching this nation”) and by rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.
He laid out his plan to reduce the federal deficit by freezing annual domestic spending for the next five years and touched on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. “This year…we [will] finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America’s commitment has been kept. The Iraq war is coming to an end,” he said.
Overall, Obama was pretty vague- he mentioned health care reform and the economy only fleetingly, two issues that are really on the forefront of the American consciousness. But, the State of the Union is always vague. Sure, he didn’t give details to Congress about what legislation and bills he expects to see in the next year, or how specifically to face the obstacles he described. But Congress isn’t the real audience for the speech, we are- the American people. What he needed to do was inspire us, make us proud of our country, and excite us about the future.
And he did.
“From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream… The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it’s because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong,” he concluded.
I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free… Uh oh… it’s stuck in my head again.