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Obama’s State of the Union Speech, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 964

Essay

President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Speech was based on concepts of social equality and the improvement of the domestic situation of the United States. in contrast to many recent State of the Union speeches, this speech presented domestic issues such as minimum wage reform, gun control, tax fairness, and the protection of minority and women’s rights as major issue rather than focusing on foreign policy and the continuing war on terror. Obama’s speech was basically a list of ambitions for his second term as president. The items on his list reflected a progressive agenda and showed that  while the President is still interested in bipartisanship and compromise, his agenda has settled into a firmly left-of-center perspective.   By showing such a progressive agenda, President Obama was, in effect, drawing a line in the sand with regard to the conservative Republican  presence in the Congress. The thrust of President Obama’s State of the Union speech was to more or less challenge the conservative wing of government to join him in rebuilding the American economy and making must-needed reforms to important domestic policies.

This people who felt that Obama’s first term as President capitulated too much to the demands of the Republican minority should be  reassured by the President’s State of the Union speech because it demonstrated a firm commitment to social programs and to  helping provide opportunity and relief to millions of working-class citizens. Those who felt that President Obama’s first term showed a preoccupation with a liberal agenda will probably feel quite upset and threatened by the President’s State of the Union speech. This is because the two most basic ideas in the speech stand in direct opposition to the basic tenants of conservatism. First of all, President Obama’s State of the Union speech made it perfectly clear that his main ambition as President was to help the working and middle-classes even if doing so meant asking for a greater tax and wage contribution form the ownership class of the country. Secondly, the President’speech made it just as clear that  the President was interested in helping minorities, particularly Hispanics, find a way to be treated fairly under the law.  President  Obama’s insistence on immigration reform and tax reform are items of his agenda that will please progressive liberals and agitate conservatives.  The same can be said for his asking for a higher minimum wage and for tighter restrictions and controls on the sale and possession of guns.

The President also spoke out for the need to confront and deal with climate change. He made no mistake about tying climate change to human pollution. His ideas about alternative energies, and corporate responsibility are the very kind of ideas that have been struggling to gain traction in government for many decades.  That is to say: President Obama’s stance on climate change reflects the popular will: most people believe in climate change and most people belive it is caused by human activity.  President Obama is the first President to speak out so forcefully and specifically on the issue of climate change.  His using the idea of science as a basis for his convictions is also something that would be applauded by progressive voters.

Om the whole, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that president Obama’s State of the Union speech was a  point by point nod to a progressive ideas. However, the President was very careful to repeatedly call for across-the-aisle cooperation. For anyone who is familiar with the past four years of Republican obstructionism in regard to Obama’s policies, the President’s continued effort to compromise and include Republicans in his agenda is not only remarkable, but it is potentially foolhardy. The policy that the conservative right has seemed most interested in following over President Obama’s first term has been a policy of negation. The Republican-led House of Representatives has impeded much of Obama’s agenda, while in the Senate, the Republicans have used the filibuster as a method for  blocking Obama-backed legislation. In some cases, republicans in both the House and the Senate have voted against legislation originally written and proposed by members of the Republican party purely on the basis of trying to obstruct Obama form governing.

Despite these realities, nothing in president Obama’s State of the Union speech sounded bitter or vengeful. Instead, the President’s tone was pragmatic and confident. the speech outlined many challenges that are presently faced by America including: social security and medicare reform, the implementation of the new health-care law, immigration, fair pay. the treatment of veterans, climate change, and gun control. On this last point, president Obama seemed not only eloquent, but deeply involved at a personal level. His emotion insistence that gin control legislation “deserves a vote” may have been the most successful segment of the speech as a whole. Certainly, it was a part of the speech that seemed most emotionally resonant for many people given the long history of gun violence in American society that has recently culminated in notable tragedies such as the Sandy hook shooting massacre.

The President was very certain that gun control and gun violence must be dealt with and he implored those in the conservative wing of government to at least put the measure up for debate and for a vote.  The President’s State of the Union speech was, for President Obama, remarkably without very much rhetorical bombast. The President seemed to want to strike a tone that was based in responsibility and sober solutions to demanding issues. Fir me, the gist of the speech was that President Obama prides himself  on being a problem-solver. he also seems to have a deep faith in the population as a whole and ear for populist attitudes. Only time will tell if the speech was more words of good intention than promises of actual results.

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