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The State of the Union: Politics as Usual

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Last evening, President Obama delivered the State of the Union address. His message was orated with the sublime skills of an experienced lecture hall professor but filled with concessions to the Republicans. During the speech, the audience acted as they were choreographed to do as practiced with intermittent applause, ovation standing and the occasional yell of approval. The President came out with all the pomp of the leader of the free world but throughout his speech seemed to be campaigning again with no real measure of solution to his words but rather, responses to what the polling data dictated. Through the entire message, one which was meant to instill confidence in the American people of the job he was doing, the President missed one important thing; to address the the real issues and the Liberal ideals that got him elected to office.

From the beginning to the end of Obama's speech, I kept shifting my stares from Vice President Biden to Speaker Boehner. Biden seemed the easily pleased, happy guy who would never dare to disagree or find any fault in our President. Boehner on the other hand, the man who cries when thinking about the American Dream and the plight of our children in this country, looked as if he was measuring every word with the look of a man thinking "you had better say what we agreed upon". I could almost see the puppet strings from his hands and his lips moving while Obama spoke.

Seeming like a schizophrenic ideologue confused by the voices in his head, President Obama teetered throughout his speech as if trying to balance on a picket fence suspended over a pit of alligators. In one breath he would expound upon the streamlining of government to cut costs while with the next, call for more governmental influence by saying this was America's Sputnik moment and we must reinvent America through governmental influence. The following statement embodied this imbalance:
"Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it's not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout our history, our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That's what planted the seeds for the Internet. That's what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS. Just think of all the good jobs -- from manufacturing to retail -- that have come from these breakthroughs."
So more government programs? Less? I don't know.

He also seemed to have been suffering from selective reasoning when in one breath he praised our troops overseas and how the war in Iraq was coming to an end but never mentioned the additional employ of soldiers to Afghanistan or the impending showdown with Iran or even the increasing restrictions on U.S. citizens at airports, FBI increased on-line monitoring or many other basic civil liberties compromised by the Patriot Act. He did of course, have a Bush moment and mentioned 9/11 and the fight against our enemies which I am sure is why the issue of the largest defense budget since WWII; a whopping 725 Billion Dollars. After all, he must keep up appearances. If the President wants to find programs to cut, why doesn't he start there instead of Medicare or Social Security?

Mentioned not was neither the 20% unemployment rate in Florida's Space Coast due to the cuts to NASA nor the environmental destruction of our coal rich centers or the people sickened because of corporate greed. He did mention clean or renewable energy but nary a word uttered about ceasing corporate welfare and the easing of taxation on the middle class. Our President also forgot to mention the housing crisis and rising homelessness in this country as a direct result of it or for that matter, solutions to said dilemma. Democrats are supposed to care for the American people but on this night, our President seemed more concerned about his political career.


In his rush to the center, Obama seems to have forgotten why some of us voted him into office. The entire speech was meant not to give us an idea of the State of our Union but rather an effort to propel his political agenda to a now Republican controlled Congress and the State of separation. It seemed that he and the writers of his speech were only reacting to the political polls and measuring the words by effect rather than staying within the elected purpose of his administration: to bring Real Change to Washington and by proxy, to We the People.

I would have liked very much to have heard some reality in the State of the Union. Instead, I heard almost criminal levels of patronization and purposeful misdirection away from the issues that are really affecting this Nation today or at least those we Liberals care about. The center approach would have been good two years ago but now I cannot help but think that if the Republicans hadn't won the Majority, our President wouldn't have tried so hard to concede to their demands on his administration.

When I started watching the SOTU, I had hopes that our President would stand for the Liberal agenda and the American People but instead, he stood for politics and concession. Although some of his words about reinvesting in our future resonated with true hope, the end result of such investment will end up in the hands of the corporations who are doing most of their business overseas rather than into the already lint filled pockets of We the People.

Obama's wordsin this speech were not informative at all but rather a collection of more campaign rhetoric but this time, instead of trying to win the votes of us Liberals, he seemed to be trying to win the votes of the Republicans. Rather than telling us what the State of the Union truly is, Obama turned it into the State of the Political Landscape and threw concessions rather than Presidential conditions to the other side of the aisle. He was successful in one area though; he succeeded in showing the chameleon coat with which he will unfortunately envelop himself through the rest of his one term Presidency and revealing how wasted my vote was in 2008.

What is interesting to me is how history records the financial currents of our Nation. Whenever crisis hits in the form of recessions or depressions the People vote into office a Democrat to sort out the mess. Once things are back in order, the People vote for a Republican until the cycle returns to start. In the case of this great recession, our Democrat of choice is returning us to the Republicans two years too early. Despite my prior expressions of disappointment in Obama, I have still been clinging to the hope that he would bring us the change he promised but after watching the pomp and circumstance Tuesday night, I can say without reserve that the State of the Union is unfortunately; back to politics as usual.

 

http://www.spaulforrest.com

Steven Forrest is a Project Architect living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently, he is working to implement Green Building initiatives in several communities across Florida. Given the current situation in America and the continued (more...)
 
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