The President of the United States, Barack Obama, spoke Tuesday evening to a congress long-divided, a congress with an all-time low approval rating from the American public. Always a master speaker, the president emphasized the principle that the mission should be foremost, beyond obsession with political or personal aspiration, several times in his annual State of the Union address.
If those debaters who have filled the airways in recent months were seeking a long-winded dissertation on the accomplishments of the administration during the past year, they were disappointed. The president indeed mentioned the end of the Iraqi conflict and the death of Osama bin Laden, but the tone of his address was far more in keeping with a clear definition of the current directions the nation under the president is taking, and the goals for the years ahead.
During the course of the hourlong speech, he did mention that the world is unified behind a clear need to stop the nuclear escalation from the rogue, Iran. The world, he said, is now united behind severe sanctions. He continued that to stop the nuclear threat from Iran, no option is off the table. But, he avowed, peace is preferable. He went on to say, most specifically, that the money saved with the reduction in our reduced warfare should be used, half to pay off the national debt, and half to the renewed nation building of America. In what may have been the most moving, emotionally, of his words, he reminded us that the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the system of transcontinental highways across America all were born out of times of financial crisis. He alluded at that point to plentiful jobs available, and to his administration’s endeavor to retrain workers to fill available jobs.
The debaters for weeks have declared passion and commitment to rigid ideology; the president suggested common sense in moving toward the future as a wiser and more sensible priority. He vowed to fight obstructionism with action.
The president pointed with pride to the American auto Industry. He spoke of American produced cars from Detroit, Toledo, and Chicago, being the standard in all parts of the world. He mentioned South Korea, and China, and an unlimited market. In that regard, he told the listeners, corporations shouldn’t benefit from out sourcing; from hiring overseas. He pledged double tax breaks, and double incentives to those who bring jobs back to America.
The president addressed a timely issue by announcing a newly established commission to stop illegal and unfair pirating of internet ware, specifically mentioning that pirating from China.
In what may have been a surprising and controversial announcement, the executive told of a strongly felt proposal to prohibit students from dropping out of school before graduation, or turning 18. The president indicated his administration supports creativity in teaching, and not the policy of “teaching to the test.” He said incapable teachers should be removed.
In dealing with the issue of illegal aliens, or those persons here from birth, from illegal parents, or some other incidence, he made the point that these should be viewed as a valuable resource. How foolish to educate young people, teach them to explore areas of technology, and then export them after graduation.
In what may be seen as a change in attitude, the president will encourage and reward new drilling in oil and natural gas development. He continues to demand that new exploration be done in a way that is safe, clean, and healthful. The president supports all forms of energy, including wind and solar, and opened a new discussion of potential for battery development.
For possibly the first time, President Obama directly took to task those who sell or sold mortgages to those who can’t or couldn’t afford them, and in some cases have been unable to decipher the contracts. The days of “fine print” must be ended. He mentioned mortgages, credit cards, and other contractual matters in that regard.
The President again made mention of the long-enduring debate over the “temporary tax breaks” for the richest Americans. He said the money could be better put to use for medical research, and for education. He said that congressmen should not be allowed to engage in insider trading, and should not be permitted to own stocks in any industry that they impact. The president sees new and growing inequity between the middle class striving toward success, and the very rich. He calls such current trends “unfair.”
In his final words, the chief executive reaffirmed enduring support for the “Arab Spring,” with what it entails of human dignity, and for the continuation of change in the Middle East.
If there was an underlying message in the president’s address, it was that we should be driven not by politics, or personal ambition, but rather by the mission.