State of the Union elicits varied responses

Mikki Burcher / Washburn Review

On Jan. 27, President Barack Obama gave the annual State of the Union address to the members of Congress.

In his speech, Obama addressed issues across the board, including the economy, health care reform, recent Supreme Court decisions and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

His speech began with talk of the nation’s economy. He discussed the financial rescue program and how the economy has stabilized. He also discussed the tax cuts made during the past year. Obama proposed that the $30 billion lent to Wall Street banks be used to help community banks, the idea being that extra money would allow community banks to

give small businesses credit so that their businesses can stay afloat.

The president also took the opportunity to question his nay-sayers, those who think that addressing large challenges is too ambitious.

“How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold?” said Obama.

Next the President talked about the financial reform that he deems necessary for the U.S. He pushed American innovation, particularly in the area of clean energy.

He proposed an increase in the exportation of goods, as well as more investment in the education of Americans, specifically in the area of student loans.

“No one should go broke because they chose to go to college,” said Obama.

Next Obama transitioned into the issues surrounding the much-debated health care reform bill and implored that Congress continue down the road to health care reform.

“Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close,” said Obama.

Finally, Obama addressed the issue of the national debt. He  discussed the $1 trillion debt that occurred as a result of the steps taken to prevent a “‘second Depression.” As a way to recoup losses, he suggested a freeze on government spending for the next three years.

As  Obama moved into the issue of  lobbyists, he rebuked the Supreme Court .

“The Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests… to spend without limit in our elections,” said Obama.

Moving on to the topic of bipartisanism, Obama nearly pleaded with Congress to work together on issues with more in mind than fulfilling their self-interests.

Discussion then turned to the War in Afghanistan, nuclear weapons and foreign policy. A majority of  Americans were surprised when Obama brought up Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are,” said Obama.

Obama finished his speech with emotion, telling Congress, “Let’s seize this moment to start anew, to carry the dream forward and to strengthen our union once more.