Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Politics: State of the Union 2016 - President Barack Obama

Relentlessly optimistic, President Barack Obama delivers a stirring and succinct State of the Union address to the country preaching a challenging, yet bright, future and encouraging the American people to build off the success of the past few years to continue to adapt to these rapid changes of humanity. I'll have to watch it a bit more and sleep on it and may add more to this analysis. If I had the time, I would like to go back and watch all six previous addresses for a comparison while also catching a few from previous presidents' on the last year to compare, but alas I was foolishly not a political science major and do not get paid to write this blog.

I have always been inspired when the President talks but after the backlash Obama experienced from the right wing, I've developed a healthy skepticism of what he can actually get done as President of the United States. He does proclaim his successes with the economy though the right will do everything to claim he hasn't done enough, and the left will claim he doesn't brag enough. 

If I listen to more analysis, I'll have a better sense of the reaction but I only caught a few tweets from Donald Trump that focused on the entertainment value of the State of the Union. Let me pause for a moment to let the thought of a State of the Union by President Trump sink in. 2017 is going to be an interesting year in politics no matter what happens.

The thought of the government solving cancer is ambitious, but I highly doubt we will see the eradication of the complex and various forms of this fatal disease in my lifetime. Healthcare has a lot of huge hurtles to get through before a "moonshot". Climate change is also something that is a bit shocking about this country, that so many people still don't believe in it. Obama ridiculed those who denied the science but it is hard to communicate with zealous religions and oil companies. 

Looking back, I have felt that the forty-fourth President's two terms has been a success and his legacy will last for centuries to come as a man who broke down seemingly impossible boundaries while also effectively running a country that is still rabidly divided over race, class, and other tribal division that keep our sense of cooperation from triumphing over the difficult challenges our rapidly advancing civilization will face. 

I wish him all the luck in his final year in taking on the challenges of criminal justice, immigration, and education while the loud noise of obnoxious candidates in an election year drowns out every ambitious proposal. I still hold out hope that Obama will make some drastic changes as his time runs out and legalize marijuana, forgive minor infractions of the law that have received stiff penalties, and raise the minimum wage all while desperately developing a solution to curb this senseless, yet rampant, gun violence, that frightens me at least once a month with some new horrible, heartbreaking news story. 

Foreign policy has been rough with the rise of ISIS but Obama's approach was to ridicule the candidates who claim lone wolves and a ragtag group of confused youths could actually threaten our great American ideals of freedom and equality for all. The true threat is the fear-mongering that others will use to whip a base to get votes this national election season. As I said, I am always a bit inspired by our current President's speeches and only hope that I will see another historical moment as significant as this one in my lifetime.

I  doubt a single person will still be reading my ramblings at this point but I would like the thank CNN for the image, and say that after hearing this speech, I do have some hope that America will continue to thrive and be the proud and free country that allows me to write such nonsense without repercussions like death or imprisonment. I truly believe there is no other country I would live and find the inspirations, encouragement, and liberty to write and express myself. I can only hope as the inevitable change continues, even more citizens of this country will be able to share their stories and find their voices. I would also say that President Obama has been the greatest American president in my lifetime so far, and it will be hard to find a better one in the decades to come. 

Referencing those Trump tweets, the Republican response was too boring to watch. Obama is simply a better speaker than the majority of politicians, and I almost pity any speech that follows the current President. That's enough politics for now, but I'll be dropping another post after the upcoming Republican debate!

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