Right, we’ve seen and heard it, President Barack Obama’s eighth and final State of the Union Address, one characterized by a lot of encouragement and optimism for a country that is in such turmoil — inner turmoil, I might add — but that is the job of the President, I suppose, to make us quasi-law abiding citizens feel like everything’s going to be all right.
And that is a tall order with a Congress hellbent on his political ruin, and a corresponding Republican voter demographic who are collectively incapable of hearing or speaking Barack Obama’s name without resorting to slander. Such are the alleged benefits of bipartisanship in the one and only self-appointed “Greatest Country in the World”; may we reap them with according diligence.
Apart from being reminded of how comforting and endearing Vice President Joe Biden’s presence and finger pointing can be, or that Paul Ryan is a very intelligent and competent Speaker of the House who also happens to be a complete asshole, we got to see a Barack Obama freed of the hinderances imposed upon a President who has to worry about reelection (even an incumbent one).
He’s had noticeably more swagger in his step these days, and deservedly so. Gone are the associations of Obama with a young senator just coming into his own. With vetoes and gray hair comes confidence and experience, two things our President has earned definitively, despite vehement critics of a broadly misinformed and red-faced nature.
We were also reminded — or at least I was — that a State of the Union Address, in addition to being objective and informative, is meant to showcase pride and solidarity in our country, something difficult to do for a Commander in Chief who is so widely disapproved of. Nevertheless, he spoke to us fellow Americans as members of a Union, however afflicted by social toxicity and rampant divisiveness that Union may be.
Obama emphasized the importance of a resolute American identity in issues both domestic and international, its influence in critical foreign affairs and technological advancements, its unprecedented economic efficiency, even its undisputed military strength. And it was good to hear all of this stuff, in a weird, corny, red-white-and-blue sort of way, even if a staunch history of political cynicism has made it hard to do so.
Honestly, it’s probably hard for the man himself to believe it. Not since the Civil War era has the United States been so adversarial in its dialogue between citizen and State. Not since Lincoln has a forward thinking President done so much for his country — morally and empirically speaking — yet been the target of such scorn and derision from his constituents. And not since Kennedy has a President been so inspirational to those others in said constituency who support him.
The provocative and discontent response of the public to Obama’s administration is nothing new in our nation’s politics. People will always need to hate who’s in charge as a result of the uniquely American epidemic of ingratitude and dissatisfaction gripping every citizen born after WWII. The extent of our wretched excess and gluttony knows no bounds, or at least none that we’ve yet discovered (maybe we’ll get there when the oil runs out).
But it strikes me as being unfathomable that, for the first time in decades, we have someone in office who is a true moralist and humanitarian — of course, there’s always the likelihood that we’ll discover some heinous scandal in the near or distant future — and yet so many choose to ignore that fact. Benghazi, the war in Syria, the Arab Spring and so on: these are all ethically questionable political crises he has had to preside over as President of the United States, yes.
What they aren’t, however, are his fucking fault. Yet the voracious critics of Obama and his administration are intent on blaming him and him alone. There will always be difficult decisions a President must make that will piss people off — it’s pretty much the job description — ones that you, nor I, nor whoever-the-fuck we elect next will be able to navigate without some level of controversy (I’m looking at you, Hillary, so shut the fuck up).
Thus it behooves you and I and whoever-the-fuck we elect next to at the very least acknowledge the astounding things — proven things — Barack Obama has done for this country, (e. just a few of many g.):
- 5.2% unemployment rate (or the closest to full employment since 1992)
- the military executed neutralization of Osama “Goatfucker” Bin Laden
- 14 million new jobs; that’s a lot of fucking jobs.
- the strongest year in the history of American automotive industry (four years after its worst)
- Affordable health care, not fucking Obamacare, for any American citizen in need of it
- The most radical reduction of carbon emissions by any sovereign nation in the world
- Cutting the imports from foreign oil providers (like KSA and Qatar) by 60%
- The removal of American troops from Iraq, guys, come on.
Et fucking cetera.
You do not have to like Barack Obama because he is the first Black president, or because he is charismatic and progressive, or because he is in tune with the needs and wishes of young voters across the nation. In fact, you don’t have to like Barack Obama at all — that is your natural born right as an American. But you do have to respect him for transforming the most comprehensively fucked nation in the world when he took office in 2008 to the most economically stable and internationally influential one by the end of his tenure in 2016.
So when people refer to him as dictatorial, immoral, and inhuman for trying to address issues of things like healthcare or gun control — in other words, issues diminishing quality and preservation of human life — it makes me question whether or not their devotion is really to Constitutional rights and the wellbeing of the American public, or if it’s just to their own myopia and traditionalist agenda.
When people claim the Obama administration is responsible for the influx of guns from Mexican drug cartels — Mexico, by the way, is all but a failed fucking state, even if it is my mother’s country of origin — and thus has no moral or legal right to dictate the rights of law abiding gun owners in the United States, it makes me think they’re more devoted to their own egos and delusions of being Rambo than the lives of innocent Americans (e., again only a few g.):
- The 27 murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, including children, teachers, and the shooter’s mother [weapons used: M4 and Glock]
- The 9 murdered at a church in Charleston, SC, including worshippers, a pastor, and State Senator [weapon used: Glock]
- The 16 murdered at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino, CA, including innocent civilians and employees at a Non-Profit Organization helping those with developmental disabilities [weapons used: AR-15s, pipe bombs, 9mm semi-automatic pistols]
Sadly, again, the list goes on.
As it turns out, the President is not questioning the American public’s Second Amendment rights (he has reiterated that countless times), but rather the rights of what are essentially small arms dealers to profit on the massacring of civilians. Thus far, he has put forth nothing but a call to make background checks more strict. And make no mistake, background checks to screen who is purchasing deadly weapons are not fascist; they are necessary, regardless of your bullet fetish.
These are the facts, ones which make for a very fragile and critical State of the Union, but fortunately we’ve got a very capable President to deal with it and keep us moving forward. Come this time next year, though, it will fall to another man or woman to decide which direction we move in; and it is up to us to choose who that person will be. That’s another tall order, because us lot can be pretty apathetic, at times. Let’s try and do something about it.