In spite of the pressure of current setbacks, and in spite of the ubiquitous obstructionism from some sections of the Congress, the Obama State of the Union Message on the occasion of his first year in office was a joy and a pleasure to watch. Self-confident, self-effacing, and with a natural humor, our president set an aggressive and positive tone for the future. When his lovely wife Michelle seemed a little flustered in the gallery, his affection was spontaneous and uplifting. Without being dreary, there were a few items which I personally found interesting.
Relations with China are at a point which could bring the "bloom or the blight" to future history. Obama said that we will not "accept second place" in the world. But then, neither will China. He was respectful, cordial, and never condescending. (Aside: my thought, particularly in view of the recent figure skating events covered in the media, is that perhaps at some future time America and China will feel a close and real love and respect one for the other.) The President spoke kindly and respectfully of Germany, and India, and he spoke highly of the Muslim world, hoping that we might contribute to their efforts at education, and such.
We have long pondered the seeming inconsistency pertaining to Iran and her nuclear capacity. The issue re-occurs — why can we have nuclear armaments, while they cannot? He resolved that issue, this observer felt, in saying that we must be forever watchful that nuclear weaponry never fall into the hands of terrorists. If Iran had such weaponry, it could indeed fall into unfriendly hands, and that in my estimation resolved the issue.
The Supreme Court has been a disappointment in recent times, encouraging gun ownership in spite of obvious reasons to limit such ownership. And now the Justices have given lobbyists and special Interest groups, domestic and foreign, unparalleled rights to influence the American government. Sometimes one has to wonder. Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was critical of the decision. Barack Obama in an atypical moment in his delivery expressed displeasure and disappointment. Many of us I'm sure had hoped he would.
Innovation and education were a part of the president's message. He said we must reward those students who excel at mathematics and science. He also remembered that community colleges are an important asset that should and will be supported and further developed.
He indicated that America has always fought for the value of life and liberty for all — men, women, children — and that she would continue to do so. Isolationism, then, is not an option.
He indicated that regardless of one's views on the causes of global warming, clean and efficient energy is an important issue, and will require continuing legislation.
He reminded us of the principle of "Pay as You Go," or PAYGO. PAYGO is a term used to refer to financing where budgetary restrictions demand paying for expenditures with funds that are made available as the program is in progress.
The Republican reply to the State of the Union — the Republicans, we must concede, having had little time for preparation — delivered by Virginia Governor Bill McDonnell started out on a high note as he introduced his two fine sons; but in my estimate his response moved in a downhill direction from that point on. Surprisingly, the Republican main thrust was for "less regulation, less legislation." Some might find that counterproductive. The Virginia Governor used the phrase "frivolous lawsuit" in connection with potential mis-occurrences in the field of health care. But then, if the suit is frivolous, it probably won't get far; so, what’s the point?
I feel the American public will be uplifted by the president's insights and programs, and that it was an historically wonderful "State of the Union" by a brilliant and unaffected President.