So last night I had to watch the State of the Union address for my “Health Care Crisis” class taught by the president of my university, Donna Shalala. What’s cool about her is that she was the Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration so knows her stuff. As a part of the class we have to attend 5 seminars because she likes to encourage campus involvement. Since this address was important she included it as a seminar (although I should be watching it anyways). So I made it a point to take a few hours of my night to listen to President Obama tell me what’s up in this crazy world we’re living in.
While it was interesting to watch, I have a hard time taking a lot of it to heart. Clearly, he needs to instill hope in a people that is losing it each day as more people are becoming unemployed, uninsured, and uneasy about the state of our country. There were a couple things that especially struck my attention.
First of all, talking about policies that will decrease our deficit by a trillion dollars really means nothing to me. A trillion dollars just seems like such a big number that I do not even know anymore if such a quantity will actually signify progress or not. What effect will this have? Will it strengthen our dollar in the rest of the world? Because I know I’m pretty anxious to get back to Europe right about now.
I feel like there is definitely a set formula that has been implemented for years for these speeches. Certain topics like jobs, energy, and the economy that always have to be covered. However, certain areas always attract my attention, like education. Last night Obama stressed making college more affordable for low-income families and strengthening the quality of community colleges. Most striking to me, he wants to let college loans go after twenty years… Is this something that is really feasible? Like I mentioned earlier, our debt and economy is way over my head and this just seems like another added expense that will drive us even deeper into the ground.
One of the things that must also be included is a report on the war. Amidst the crisis in Haiti, high rate of unemployment, and other going-ons in the world, I was embarassed when I realized that I had almost forgotten about the war overseas. Although I always read the top stories of the day, not until Obama mentioned the status of troops in Iraq did I realize that I truly forgot about what was going on. It made me a bit sad.
Onto the ladies in attendance like Michelle Obama. I’ve always admired the lady’s style and grace (not to mention great arms) but last night her haircut just made her forehead look huge. I loved the length but the triangle leading to where her hairline began was just not flattering. The presence of Nancy Pelosi is inescaple as you see her the entire time of the speech. Can you imagine being her? I kept putting myself in her shoes throughout the speech. Being in the limelight for that whole time must be a lot of pressure!
After the speech, I listened to a bit of commentary on the procession. One journalist said that there was “no Blackberrys and twittering like we’ve seen in the past.” This just brought to the forefront the presence of social media in our society. I know I was twittering throughout the speech while laying on my couch, but to think Congressional leaders normally do the same from their seats made me chuckle a bit and clued my roomies into the fact that I’m not the only person in the world using Twitter on a regular basis (like they make me fun of for).
Before the speech, one of my roommates asked all of us what our feelings on Obama were. I will come out and say that I voted for him because I liked him and his beliefs more than John McCain. In terms of post-election thoughts, I’ve always been in the mindset that we must listen to our President and track his progress whether we like it or not because things will not change post-election. I am not a political person and never have been. I like to follow the news of now and know what is going on but will never be one to lobby, write letters, or try to influence policymaking unless it is an issue I feel very passionate about.
For now, I will continue to watch addresses and take them for what they are. I will follow the news of the day and make sure that I know what is going on in our society to ensure that my future is not in total peril. I am anxious to see if his calls for mends between parties to ensure policy making will actually work but only time will tell!