Examining the Real State of The Union

President Obama has high hopes for the future, but what does that mean for students?

By Will Owen /// Staff Writer 

State of the Union copy

On Jan. 20th, President Barack Obama had very positive things to say at his 2015 State of the Union Address. To sum it up in Mr. Obama’s words, “the state of the union is strong.”

Obama spoke of 2015 as a year in which a new chapter in America’s history began. He had a very positive outlook on essentially every issue discussed, guaranteeing improvement in virtually every realm of society.

He began by initially discussing the current state of the economy, on which he had quite a bit to say. Obama proudly proclaimed that America is currently doing better economically than before the financial crisis. He asserted equally that America’s unemployment rate is doing much better than it had been.

Lewis & Clark Students are directly affected by a few of the things Obama mentioned. He aims to make community college free for all people who strive for higher education. Obama also spoke of a bipartisan infrastructure bill that he would seek to pass. On an ideal timeline, that would potentially affect the maintenance of the new Sellwood Bridge, or other life-threateningly dangerous bridges in our area. Hopefully, it will be repaired more quickly if this bill goes through.

Obama also became the first President to mention LGBTQ human rights violations in his State of the Union Address, more evidence of the era of progress he cited.

On the topic of foreign policy, the main issue that the President approached was the growing threat of ISIS in the Middle East. He touted America’s involvement in a coalition against the Islamic State. On a similar note, however, he did say something a little ironic about the situation in Ukraine. When discussing NATO sanctions against Russia over the annexation of Crimea, Obama noted that America is, “upholding the principle that bigger nations shouldn’t bully the small,” which is a very clear contradiction. Anyone who’s learned anything about contemporary World History knows that America sticks its nose into whichever country’s pudding it wants to. Yes, everyone is aware that Ukraine’s pudding is soiled, but maybe a touch of realism would make all of his idealistic claims seem more plausible.

Another touch of exaggeration was exposed when Obama declared that America had reduced its carbon emissions by the highest amount this past year. Although this figure is true in terms of metric tons of CO2 emitted, the U.S. is still the 2nd largest emitter of CO2 in the world, and so its small percentage (6%) decrease in emissions amounts to a greater decrease per ton, despite other countries cutting emissions by much higher percentages, (e.g. Italy with its 15.1% reduction).

Ultimately, although America seems to be doing better than it has in the past years of Obama’s presidency, we’re not actually on the verge of a utopia like Mr. Obama seems to want us to believe.


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