State of the Union: Address with Flare

President Barack Obama gave his sixth State of the Union Address on Jan. 28 in a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber. 

As usual, the greatest orator of this generation did not leave his audience wanting more. He gets criticized openly, but what president hasn’t? Regardless, his performance at the podium is just as strong today, if not better, than his famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Every trivial topic of today was covered from the improvement of domestic automobile production, corporate growth and minimum wages, to the end of the war in Iraq and the reduction of American military presence in the Middle East.

The main point that Obama stressed was the opportunity for success that still exists today. “I believe that here in America, our level of success should depend on not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams,” Obama said, “that’s what brought our fore-fathers here.”- A daunting concessio that makes the audience cognizant of the fact that the executive branch is composed of people who had humble backgrounds. Mind you, the immediate audience is Congress, c-level executives, and invited guests.

Obama also stressed that he will urge Congress to work on improving the economic stability of the nation. However, it was let known that he will implement more executive action. In accordance with increased economic productivity, alternative energy sources and environmental protection which closely follow.

Obama announced he will “give America a raise” and sign an executive order to raise federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 an hour. A challenge was issued to Congress by the president to work together.

In 2013, the bipartisan tension in Congress balked much of Obama’s legislation. Republican Speaker of the House Jim Boehner said, “The question is how many people, Mr. President, will this executive action actually help? I suspect the answer is somewhere close to zero,” according to The Associated Press.

The Affordable Care Act-the elephant in the room-was also addressed.

The backlash that occurred last year was brought into light when Obama said, “I do not expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law… I know the Americans are not interested in refighting the same battle… and repealing the same law that is helping millions of Americans,” which receiving a standing ovation.

Others received the State of the Union address to push Democratic campaign points in the 2014 elections fast approaching. If the Democrats can regain the majority in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, Obama will not have to worry about a bipartisan struggle and his threat of executive orders will have remain just a threat.

On the principles of equal pay for men and women, re-establishing domestic manufacturing and affordable college for students “the result is that Democrats are now cautiously optimistic that they have more defined, and effective, agenda to rally around going into the fall elections,” said Paul Kane of the The Washington Post writes.

On the issues of Syria and Palestine, diplomacy was stressed. The issue of weapons testing in Iran was urged to have ceased while negotiations continue. America is advocating democracy for Syria without moving troops into the country. The top moment of the speech is an apostrophe to Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, a soldier who was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, “Day by day, he has learned to speak again and stand again and walk again and looking forward to the day when he can walk again,” Obama said; the craftiness of this phrase, tricolon and symploce, is par excellence.

By far, President Obama is the greatest orator of this generation. I often compare him to Malcolm X in his presence and authority over his words. Every topic is addressed and explained clearly. He wields the English language like a double edged sword that lands as lightly as a feather. The assistant speechwriter, Jon Favreau, is also held in my highest regards. We are free to criticize our president as much as we wish, however, when Barack Hussein Obama is on the podium it is a win for America.

 

Brandon White, Junior
Communication Major