I watched President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night. I was one of the 15% who did in my area of South Carolina. That is if you believe the Tuesday local paper poll question responses. Readers were asked “Will you watch President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night?” As I wrote, 15% allowed as to how they would. That leaves 85% with more important things to watch. While the president was speaking, viewers had the option of the latest vapid mind candy on ‘E’, something about rich kids, or Bravo’s the “Shahs of Sunset” a show of contrived stereotypes that couldn’t be more insulting to Islam.
How about diving deeper into the cable pool for DSC’s “Moonshiners” or the oddest show on all of television, “Dance Moms” on Lifetime. Yep, plenty of fare infinitely more important that the present and future of America.
Then there was the predicted local reaction to this truly inspiring speech. Some cartoon, ‘er cartoonist named Summers, who plies his ink-stink from the Orlando Sentinel and let’s the Tribune Content Agency spread it throughout media land, drew a first panel showing the president at the SOTU podium stating “I’m willing to work together.” The second panel has him holding out a pen. He asks, “Right?” as the pen responds “RIGHT!” The reference is obviously to Barack Obama finally taking Executive Order leadership into his hands after years of a kindergarten Congress refusing to entertain any Democratic initiatives. Of course, at least 85% of the local population will nod their heads in enthusiastic affirmation of the message of the cartoon since they know nothing of a speech they didn’t bother to listen to.
The speech was what I would term an intellectual stem-winder. Obama is not an orator in the classic sense of MLK or Bill Clinton or the late Congresswoman and civil rights leader, Barbara Jordan. Even nearly four decades after the fact of her 1976 Democratic Convention Keynote Speech, Representative Jordan’s oration is politically iconic. You can find it all over YouTube.
As for the president, he delivers a different kind of passion; not blood boiling, but mind roiling. Barack Obama stimulates contemplation and deliberation. He’s a craftsman and modulator. He makes few, if any, mistakes. You know by the tenor of his voice when he’s serious and he commands your attention. He was in full command of his speech faculties Tuesday night.
What were these words that were so well crafted? The president started off on a note of accomplishment, steering through the entrepreneur and professions of autoworker, farmer and doctor to highlight recent achievements. He continued with positive facts and figures emerging from his administration in recent months. The overarching message; things are improving and that “The United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.”
He added some pithy and not so subtle barbs aimed at the right-wing House. One of my favorites was, “But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crisis.” Fist bump, speechwriters.
Jobs, wages, including an escalating minimum wage and the Middle-class took up a fair amount of the first 20 minutes or so, as well they should have. Barack bragged on some of Michelle’s projects. Funny, The National Enquirer barely had them speaking according to the front-page I saw checking out at the grocery store the other day. It was at this point that Obama made his first mention of veterans in lauding his wife’s and Jill Bidens co-venture called “The Joining Forces” alliance that asks employers to train and hire 400,000 veterans and their wives.
It’s a wonderful program and the least we can do for our veterans, especially those military victims of Iraq, a war forced on tens of thousands of young people in their prime, who ended up in Iraq so the likes of Dick Cheney, his oil buddies, bankers and war industry profiteers could build another wing onto their 15,000 square foot houses and add multiple millions to their bottom lines.
Thank the Good Lord that for every opportunistic numbskull, there’s a genuine, courageous and honest hero. Tuesday night that hero was somebody most of America had never heard of. He was a Ranger, Army Sergeant First Class, Corey Remsburg. Sgt. Remsburg had deployed to Afghanistan 10 (TEN) times. A roadside bomb left him in a coma for months with shrapnel in his brain. The president told of dozens of surgeries and hours of grueling rehab for Remsburg. He remains blind in one eye and has problems with his left side.
The most striking characteristic I noticed about the Sergeant was that while others clapped when particularly approving of a presidential statement, Corey pounded his chest in Tarzan fashion with the flat palm of his right hand to show his agreement. Clapping is one of the first things humans do as babies. This adult male can’t do what babies can do.
I love Corey Remsburg for his sacrifice and every serviceman and woman like him, whether severely injured or untouched. Only in the most extreme of threatening circumstances should we send any fellow American in harm’s way. Initially, Afghanistan seemed legit. Osama bin Laden was hiding out there as were other identified terrorists. But bin Laden is now dead. The Taliban will never be totally exterminated and graft and poppies rule the day, starting at the very top. There’s no reason to sacrifice even one more Corey Remsburg to our national ego and Halliburton.
Overall, Obama spent a lot of time defending America’s foreign policy. And things are getting better. I would have liked to have heard more about women’s issues, though equal pay for equal work was a winner, education and immigration and a word or two about Keystone. Showing his continued fear of the NRA, he gave over a single paragraph to gun violence. He at least mentioned Sandy Hook. Right-wing propaganda has made the sacrifice of 20 children and 6 adults to our insane gun culture an afterthought virtually forgotten as an A rating from the NRA means more to politicians than the lives of little children. That’s the 100% truth. For shame!
I like the new retirement savings idea articulated last night. Treasury savings bonds until a certain amount is saved, then on to IRAs. Works for me. The president also defended voter rights and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He showed where the health insurance market was working and challenged the snickering Republicans in attendance to show the nation if they’ve got something better. They won’t because they don’t. I liked his reference to the ridiculous “40-something” anti-ACA votes in the House.
IMHO, the speech rates an “A.” Now, let’s follow the lead of Sgt. Remsburg. Like the extraordinary man he is, Corey still wants to serve, “My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.
So I’ll tell you what, Republicans, you take your narrow-minded cretins like Phil Robertson, we Democrats will welcome the Corey Remsburgs into the fold and flip the red state legislatures and the House of Representatives.
Raised rural & small town, then lived in N.Y., Chicago & LA. Widely traveled. Returned from world wandering to pursue media life of anchorman/reporter and major, medium and small market talk radio. Highly active in politics. Once worked as orderly & security in Mens Lock Ward for the Criminally Insane at a state institution. Much more rational population than current Teapublicans. Great concern for country run by and for the extreme wealthy. The inhumane current running through this country has no precedent in modern history.
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