Sunday, February 19, 2012

You Stay Classy Barack Obama: State of the Union 2012

Karl Marx 
If Obama’s theme for the State of the Union last year was “Innovation”, then this year’s big buzzword was most definitely “Fairness” or more specifically “Cooperation from everyone to achieve Fairness”. Obama’s stated many times throughout his hour speech that “if everyone does their fair share” the problems facing America such as jobs, immigration, debt, war, and even the environment will all be fixed.  A sentiment I understand, but know that in this political and societal climate might be too idealistic. I also thought the wording of this quote was dangerously similar to the defining principle from Marx’s communist manifesto “To each his own ability”. The statement proved a gutsy move for Obama who has often been criticized by the far right as a socialist putting him at a vulnerable place for the GOP to take advantage, especially with an election coming up in November.

Of course being a Junior in college soon about to enter the real world of a jobless, and debt ridden America, I was interested in Obama’s plan to increase the job market while fixing the sure to be devastating financial aid and student loan crisis that has already begun to plague this country. His solutions for financial aid were as usual vague but involved cutting off government assistance to any University who does not give all they can to students in need of financial aid. I was unsure of the effectiveness of this plan since it sounded like Obama was leaving the responsibility of financial aid directly on the school itself and not the government through loans and grants. I also thought this policy was definitely different from normal democratic beliefs in bigger government showing Obama’s bipartisan values which in itself is a comfort. His bold statement to tax millionaires 30 percent every year to help small businesses and job growth, delineated from his usual non-specifics in his State of the Union addresses and is commendable.

As usual, in this speech Obama’s prowess in articulation and personal presence was on full display, never once giving the audience the impression that he was reading from a teleprompter. In fact, upon re-watching I’m not sure if he really was or not. Lame jokes about “crying over spilled milk” aside (The First Lady’s face at that failed attempt at stand-up was absolutely priceless), Obama presented himself in his usual cool, calm and collected manner that we have come to know these past 4 years; a manner which usually comforts us but can also leave us wanting for more passion and anger for certain issues. I thought he also took the high road in not directly criticizing any of the GOP candidates now scrambling (somewhat ineloquently) for his position.  I guess he believed that there would be plenty of time for attacks later this year when either Mitt Romney or God forbid Rick Santorum becomes the official GOP candidate vying for the oval office.

Sarah Mitrotz
Communication Studies
Wilkes 2013

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