State of the Union

Last night I listened to the State of the Union speech while working the CNN poll from my iPad (a first for me) and I only participated because the ticker line at the bottom of the TV screen tempted me to do so and I thought at the moment: why not? I realized throughout his speech that in the pollster’s effort to get me to select whether I agree with the President’s at the moment or not – on any given point, that my finger was pressing the agree button far more than the disagree button. If there is one thing that stands out with President Obama is that his speeches are usually quite appealing to the general population. He makes these statements of fairness, and justice, and safety and promise. Who wouldn’t agree? And as I listened, I watched the new Speaker of the House: Paul Ryan, as his face had this quizzical if not amused expression throughout the speech. While many are applauding, he sat there looking at the back of President Obama’s head as if what he was saying was sheer nonsense. Of course that is my interpretation of a valiant effort on the Speaker’s part to hide his thoughts. But the fact is that Obama didn’t specify many details on how he would accomplish whatever it was he was mentioning in any given moment, just that it was a “good idea” to tackle whatever issue it was he was addressing at that moment. To get along. To think of the future. Sure. It’s a good idea- but how, and have you attempted in these efforts in the past, Mr. President? And from what I understand, throughout your entire presidency, you have avoided many one on one sessions with congressmen and women.  
Why is the congress always so deadlocked? Could it be that the devil is in the details? My father’s position is that on a regular basis, the democrats bulk up on nonsense in the bills and legistlation process, filtering in plans that would hurt the country especially in the economics arena. So while the crux of the bill might have passed, it’s the tendrils surrounding the crux that cause the disagreement. This is still so general for me and evasive. So I dial down – and I commit to dig in to web sites that might give me what I need to better understand; I , an average American that focuses more on my personal and work life than the political climate at hand. What does all of this mean, and where do I stand? Elections are less than a year away, and this time around, I want my vote not only to count but I want it to mean something more deeply in our free process of electing leaders and moving our country forward.  
Where he lost me in a certain layer of cynicism was his comments on war and cancer. “When you come after us, we’ll come after you- it may take time.” Our military is working hard, no doubt. But in so many instances, it ha felt that the acts of terror against innocent civilians has not born out much retribution. It’s leadership and direction and guidance that I am concerned about. As a citizen, I have to trust that many terrorist efforts against our nation have been thwarted, intelligence is doing its thing and we are protected. I can’ help but wonder if our government and military are truly doing everything possible- as cells of violence grow. A cancer all its own and in many people’s view, untreatable. And then there is his declaration of America curing cancer. The fact that in this last year of office, the US will cure cancer with VP Biden’s help conjures up in me a vision that what is really going on here is that he wanted his last speech to knock us off our feet in optimism. Of course, he means our initiatives and our work will lead to a cancer cure eventually, but his statements are so full of air. Really? He wants to leave office on a high note, expressing to the nation what he wants to accomplish – not necessarily what he can accomplish. It sounds much like a political candidate’s promises during an election year that in the end, amount to not much of anything. Bah- who am I to say all of this? I wonder what most citizens came away with after last night’s speech. Hope? Confusion? Renewed fear? In my circle, I don’t know that many that even listen to the political climate, presidential speeches and election banter. I know several who claim that they just don’t have time to listen to any of it. Too busy. Bury the head in the sand and continue to “do life”. Does it matter? Does an individual’s opinion and vote matter? I want to believe that it does, and if this is the case, an informed vote is essential. Not just voting party line – but voting one’s conscience. So, I look to my own duty and commit to seeking out answers, reading everything I can get my hands on that addresses both sides of the aisle. This will be a different election year for this voter.

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