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2011 State of the Union Address: A Humble Summary

In POLITICS TODAY on January 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Maurice E. Duhon, Jr.

Tuesday, 1/25/11

President Barack Obama walked into the House chamber and traded “happy” handshakes with the many attendees of our nation’s State of the Union address.  After recognizing the House’s newly recognized Speaker John Boehner, President Obama then recognized the seat that remained empty in the House chamber.  He was of course referencing the Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (Arizona), who suffered a near fatal gunshot wound to the head earlier this month and is now undergoing medical rehabilitation in Houston, TX. 

With Vice-President Joe Biden looking over his right shoulder and Speaker John Boehner over his left, two political polar-opposites, President Obama would begin the 2011 State of the Union Address speaking of America’s need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. President Obama referenced the Soviet’s Sputnik entering into outer space before the United States could make such possible.  He spoke of how that event sparked the government’s interest in realizing our children’s education would be a catalyst for our nation’s success.  Obama stated that the time we find ourselves in now is similar to the “Sputnik” times. 

The President stated we need to invest in clean energy systems and then confessed that he is willing to cut federal subsidies to oil companies, Speaker Boehner did not seem amused.  Obama moved into detail describing the solutions for our education system, including adding 100,000 new teachers, rewarding excellent teachers, not making excuses for under-performing teachers, and as for children winning science fairs and succeeding in school; we should cheer louder for their accomplishments than we cheer for the accomplishments of our favorite sports teams. 

The President’s attention then shifted to declaring that the issue of immigration should be discussed and debated with a sound solution to follow.  Quick jump to infra-structure, including our nation’s infra-structure’s “D-grade”, given to us by our own Civil Engineers.  Within 25 years, American should all have access to high speed rail lines, said Obama.  Obama described the parade of Washington lobbyists that influence an unfair American tax code.  Obama then stated he supports a simplified American tax code. 

President Obama then recognized that some have found the New Health care Act as unsatisfactory.  Obama then described the good and fair contents of the Health Care law and declared if Congress doesn’t like it then “fix it”, but do not destroy it.  Obama then says he supports a federal 5 year discretionary spending freeze…  The small applause that followed was feeble and awkward. 

The President’s next words included, reigning in our debt to allow investment for the future. “We can’t win the future with a government of the past”, said Obama.  The president spoke of the archaic make-up of our federal agencies whose structures needed remediation.  He stated that salmon in our country’s fresh water is handled by one federal agency, salmon in salt water is handled by another agency, and Obama then noted it gets really complicated once the salmon get smoked.  This well placed and crafted joke even forced Speaker Boehner into a semi-chuckle. 

Moving on, the president reassured America that Latinos, Hispanics, and Muslims are also American citizens and that our citizens in the Armed Forces need to be home, but we still have fighting to do.  Obama would then shift to foreign policy, including the continuation of the START Treaty, our integrity as seen from the eyes of our foreign allies, and even gave the United States credit for influencing the first diplomatic election to ever be held in Sudan, Africa. 

Reforming our schools, managing our deficit, and introducing new energy solutions will not be easy and of course we will fight about it, the President said, but we must work together for a solution.  A little bit of; “You can do it America.”  A dash of; “You are the best country on earth,” and there you have it, your 2011 State of the Union address.