President Obama delivered the annual State of the Union Address last Tuesday, and as one might expect of any SOTU: it was rife with hyperbolized claims of accomplishments, and subtle jabs at the opposition party, one witty line of which, reminded the Chamber of his campaign victories and seems to have sufficiently satisfied his base aside from the rest of his speech.
However, he also made some vague references to the state of political and social discourse during his Presidency and seemed to blame his critics for their ‘rashness’ and ‘cynicism’, while touting his policies, many of which backfired on him, as the wise way to move forward. The following is my humble attempt to dissect some of his statements in the hope of providing a clearer picture about what was said:
1. “The shadow of crisis has past…”
What he means here is that he is, again, brushing the numerous crises that have plagued his administration, under the rug without providing the American people with answers: Solyndra, Benghazi, the VA, Fast and Furious, inaction on Syria and ISIL, subpoenaing journalists, Healthcare.Gov, GSA, IRS, and so on and so on… He has ‘turned the page’ without letting people read it.
2. “Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?”
Here, Obama proclaims that we will be hesitant to act, which will allow evil to spread without America in the way, because it’s not our job to deal with it. It took the USA months to act on ISIL while thousands were raped, tortured, and murdered. It’s not reactionary to want a swift response to ISIL, it’s the decent thing to do. It doesn’t take a deep analysis to figure out that they are the bad guy. However, it takes immeasurable levels of moral equivocation not to act against them when we can.
3. “Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another – or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?”
Mr. Obama, where is the racial division in this country coming from? Is it Eric Holder claiming Americans who don’t like him are racist? How many times has Al Sharpton been to the White House again? 81 times, huh?
4. “At every step, we were told that our goals were misguided, or too ambitious…”
What he means by ‘ambitious’ is that his critics constantly pointed out the irresponsible spending involved in his policies, the flawed “progressive” ideology behind them, and the potential evils that could arise with such government metastization. No one said he was ‘too ambitious’, but in fact he was and is, hoping to fundamentally change the country known as the United States of America to better fit the collectivist mindset.
5. “When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military – then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. That’s what our enemies want us to do.”
Let me see if I understand this one: what he is saying is that America shouldn’t be a leader in the world, it isn’t our place to help people, and that America needs to play by the rules. Sorry Mr. President, but what ‘our enemies’ really want us to do is to be as impotent and subservient as we have been under your leadership.
6. “I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now – and around the globe, it is making a difference.”
Similar to the last one, what he means is that we lead best when we take a backseat to other nations and that a more effective strategy in international affairs is to go around apologizing for America. Oh, and for Obama’s beliefs to manifest, in his own words, we need strong diplomacy. Is that the diplomacy we have seen under Kerry’s James Taylor strategy?
7. “First, we stand united with people around the world who’ve been targeted by terrorists – from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris. We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we’ve done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.”
If you ‘stand united’ with the people who have been ‘targeted by terrorists’ on the ‘streets of Paris’ then why didn’t you literally ‘stand united’ with the ‘targeted’ people, on the ‘streets of Paris a couple weeks ago? Eric Holder was there–couldn’t he have marched in the peace rally?
8. “Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn’t delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. It’s held up as proof not just of my own flaws – of which there are many – but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, and naïve, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it. I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are wrong.”
In other words: negative people are trying to divide us, and claim that I am the one doing it. I am against negativism.
No, Mr. President, people who say that you are the ‘great divider’ are not cynics, they are people who are taking an honest look at America and asking “What have we become?” Your administration has seen race tensions heighten and diminishing unity across race/ethnic lines. There have also been violence and race riots during your presidency, which were only fueled by your administration and liberal talking heads around the country who seek to use anger for political gain. Numerous times, you have failed as a leader to unite the country and keep the flames from rising–and the State of the Union is the platform for you to pass the buck.