The State of the Union

During President Obama’s run for the presidency there were few people more vocal in their support of his candidacy than myself. And I took alot of heat for it at the time. I probably lost a friend or two … burned a bridge or two … but at the time I felt that it was worth the sacrifice.

Here we are one year later. And to be honest, I find myself struggling to articulate what I think about what has happened over the past 12 months.

The health care battle has been disheartening. Many of us feel that the current bill won’t change enough. Others feel threatened by what changes have been proposed. Yet everyone agrees that it all must change. Now.

The war in Afghanistan has been escalated, while the situation in Iraq has been relegated to an afterthought. Many of our nation’s bravest are heading into their sixth or seventh deployments with no end in sight, no hope of victory and no clarity as to why we’ve waged war in the first place, or whom exactly it’s been waged against.

Many of our nation’s largest financial interests have been treated to billions of dollars in federal handouts while millions of families struggle to put food on the table.

The list goes on and on and on and on.

Yet, I still find myself drawn to the basic tenets of President Obama’s campaign message. That we can change Washington if we work together and demand it. That if we refuse to allow ourselves to fall into the traps of cynicsm we can experience the best of what each of us has to offer. Yes we can.

That’s why, in fifteen minutes, I will be very attentive to President Obama’s first State of the Union address. Needing hope. Wanting change. But finding myself questioning those who have promised to deliver it.

Are you looking forward to President Obama’s speech? What do you want to hear him talk about most? What are you skeptical of?


13 thoughts on “The State of the Union

  1. Watching it now. I echo all that you’ve said above. I mentioned my dismay with the progress of the last year with an older fellow pastor friend today. His reponse” This president is such a welcome change from the past eight years that I don’t really mind what he does.” Wish I could be that positive…

  2. please understand before you read into my “liberal” accusations. i am not a republican or democrat…i think both are disappointments and neither represent me. when i say liberal i use it as the easiest way to label him/his agenda.
    a few different things that caught my attention.
    1) the sort of candid, humorous moments
    2) the sort of candid, humorous moments that were clear digs at republicans that seemed both juvenile and, gasp, partisan!
    3) did he say he’s going to equip muslims for scientific work? correct me if i’m wrong or at least clarify for me
    4) the whole thing seemed like business as usual: go through the week (or year) and allow partisanship to continue, push a “liberal” agenda, and then call the republicans out for being partisan.
    5) he preaches well…but noone is listening…bipartisanship will never happen as long as the people that remain in power simply want to stay in power

    1. I did a quick search of the transcript. I believe the portion of Obama’s address that Jim is referring to is the following:

      That is the leadership that we are providing – engagement that advances the common security and prosperity of all people. We are working through the G-20 to sustain a lasting global recovery. We are working with Muslim communities around the world to promote science, education and innovation. We have gone from a bystander to a leader in the fight against climate change. We are helping developing countries to feed themselves, and continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS. And we are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bio-terrorism or an infectious disease – a plan that will counter threats at home, and strengthen public health abroad.

  3. I appreciated the speech last night.

    One observation .. He didn’t have rousing support from Democrats. But I also saw a noticeable amount of Republicans applauding many of his points, even if they couldn’t bring themselves to stand.

    It seems to me that the most staunch members of his own party are luke-warm on him at best. I can only assume that it’s because they feel he has compromised too much. But it also seems that moderate Conservatives at least appreciate those concessions.

    It will be interesting to see if the dynamics of the room change a year from now. If he truly is building any sort of a consensus. It’s likely that he’s going to have to reach out to Republicans even more as mid-term elections will certainly bring a more balanced Congress. He’ll need to build consensus in order to get anything done heading into 2012.

  4. cheryl’s comment about the old couple made me laugh. a friend of mine said the same thing
    ‘…tax breaks for small business, eliminating capital gains…where have I heard these revolutionary ideas before…OH WAIT…the republicans!’
    and i don’t understand how you talk about bi-partisanship and wanting to be ‘out in the open’ and then have close doored meetings and make fun of these people in your address to the nation?
    i mean this is what i tell my children, if you want your sister to be nice to you and want to play with you, you have to be nice to her and speak kindly and with respect.
    so i would say the same thing to mr obama, if you want the republicans to like you, and want to help you, and play nice with you. i would refrain from making digs at them, especially in huge public settings. just doesn’t ‘set the right tone’ if you know what i mean.
    i think the change we really need is so dramatic no democrat or republican is ready for it, they are all too busy campaigning as he pointed out last night. and real change makes people very uncomfortable.

  5. ‘…tax breaks for small business, eliminating capital gains…where have I heard these revolutionary ideas before…OH WAIT…the republicans!’

    That’s actually a pretty good example of the concessions I was referring to. We’ll see how it plays out.

  6. I think he made digs at his own party too. (Obviously not as many but still.) It’s easy for me to just sit there and not believe that change in our government is possible. To shake my head in dismay. And while it’s unlikely, I’m going to hope and pray that they can make changes that are in the best interest of our country and everyone in it. We need them to do SOMETHING. I feel like if they did anything at this point it would be better than nothing. What the heck are we paying them for and voting for if they can’t get anything done. So I’ll choose to buy what our president is saying and hope that compromise and concessions can be made on both sides to make our country better for everyone. This “married couple” needs counseling. 🙂

  7. Let me clarify for those who may not have seen my Tweet or Facebook status update last night.

    While watching the Republican response last night my wife observed that both the Democrats and Republicans say the same things. But in their bickering, neither side seems to hear the fact that they’re saying the same thing. They actually agree, but are too preoccupied with scoring points in an argument to realize it. She compared them to an old married couple.

    Just in case there’s anyone out there that is confused and thinks Cheryl and I need counseling. 😆

  8. shane!
    just popped my head in to say hi.

    how are you doing at this point with the President? just curious. i’m sure you’ll put something up after tomorrow’s election.

    personally, i don’t think republicans will gain nearly as many seats as being predicted.
    and, of course, the conspiracy theory part of me wants to say that it’s set up that way by “the media” …i can hear them now: “democrats only lost 42 seats! that’s much less than expected! looks like a victory for team Obama”

  9. I think the criticisms Obama is facing for not accomplishing more are largely justified.

    I also think it’s good that the Republicans were able to take back the House. Not because I’m super high on their platform, I just sleep better at night when the balance of power is split.

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