Last night was the State of the Union address and it had a much different flavor to it. The intermingling of both sides seemed to squash the usual interruptions that come with this address.
If the Arizona tragedy hadn’t happened it would have been much different. They would have stood on their opposite sides and you would have seen a lot of standing and clapping from the Democrats. Instead there was more unity in the applause and less of it.
This brings me to the thought that in any tragedy, there is always something good that can come of it. Now I don’t doubt that critics on both sides will be ready to pounce all over the State of the Union but I have to say that it was refreshing to see the changes I did see.
President Obama made a poignant statement when he said in the beginning of his address, “It’s not about whether we can sit together tonight but whether we can work together tomorrow.”
That’s really true. They can make it look good by sitting side-by-side but it won’t do any good unless they decide to work together and as Obama also went on to say, “We will move together or not at all.”
The crux of Obama’s speech was that we need to “innovate, educate and out-build the rest of the world.” It was those three topics that he spent a great deal of time on. While he said some interesting things there was one particular topic he touched on that made me chuckle.
He indicated that “we” need to take responsibility for the deficit of this country. I asked my television screen, “So does that begin with you?” He almost seemed righteously angry about the huge national debt we are in yet took absolutely no responsibility for that.
He indicated how deficit spending began almost a decade ago. As if we haven’t heard that line a million times before. But again, instead of taking responsibility for his part he said that in the “wake of the financial crisis some of it was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs and put money in people’s pockets.” Okay, if you say so.
But now apparently we can put that all behind us because the worst of the economy is over with, so says he. Now we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. I think we did try to confront him on this already, didn’t we?
He says that since everyday families have to sacrifice to live within their means, they deserve a government that does. And the Tea Party stood up and clapped, right?
To be honest, I don’t know where that is coming from. Are these just nice sound bites or does he really mean this? I guess time will tell.
He also addressed healthcare law and said what I personally believe, that anything can be improved. It’s time to stop refighting the battles of the last two years and fix what needs fixing and move on. I concur.
He claims he is willing to work with both parties but what he isn’t willing to do is go back to the days when…and he goes on to list some of the things in healthcare law that are good.
To be honest, he didn’t say much that surprised me or took me off guard. I was very happy, however, to hear him encourage colleges to begin opening their doors to military recruiters and ROTC. He said its time to move forward as one nation.
In the end, I thought it was a pleasant but pretty predictable State of the Union. I had my moments where I lost concentration or laughed when Biden started to clap and he realized he was the only one so stopped. Sorry, I get kicks out of silly stuff like that. Actually, there is something about Biden that I just get a kick out of.
Obama ended his address with a strong reminder that as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be…would we want to change places with any other nation on this earth. He’s right. I sometimes disdain the way we fight but I guess I really wouldn’t have it any other way.