In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Scattered Thoughts on the State of the Union address

Last night my husband John and I, like most Americans, watched our President's State of the Union address. Like many others, I've been rethinking what I heard. I want to take some time to explore some of my thoughts.

I was surprised. I'd expected to watch and hear a change; instead President Obama seemed defensive.

Although he claimed he was "not interested in re-litigating the past" and repeatedly spoke about moving past partisan politics toward creating solutions together, he continued to blame Bush for everything .

But maybe I did hear some change, I was just surprised because it was not so much presented as change as what he'd been doing all along. I found myself questioning if I'd missed something during the past year. Because to me it has seemed as if our President has repeatedly throughout the past year promoted higher income, payroll, health-care, and inheritance taxes on “them,”. Then last night I heard President Obama suddenly declare that he believes that small business is the engine of growth, and will therefore get new tax cuts and credits. Either I misunderstood the past year, or he has made a turn about on this; and this is one change I can get behind.

I started to get so excited when
President Obama started speaking about fiscal sobriety and spending freezes; I thought, see he does get it! But then my hopes plummeted the next moment to hear him declare that these measures would begin in 2011. We've already piled up the two largest budget deficits in U.S. history, are we going to pile up yet another year of trillion-dollar-plus red ink before we do anything to remedy the situation?!

Our President's comments about how Americans are now working harder for less made me think that one of the good things that has come out of the recession and losing jobs is that it has caused us to re-evaluate what is important. I think Americans today are perhaps realizing that stuff, buildings, and machines are not where happiness lies; perhaps not being able to invest so much in these is making us focus more on people and relationships. I hope so.

I did appreciate what our President had to say about
expanding the number of high-quality charter schools, and rewarding teachers for excellent performance. I agree that more school choices for parents and students means more accountability and greater achievement. I agree that a child's educational opportunity should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not by where the child lives.

The speech left me wondering what he meant by certain phrases. Such as his comments that he won't walk away from health care reform - but I didn't hear him offering anything new, or even discussing a plan to work toward real health care reform that the people can get behind. It sounded to me like he was sticking to his plan, that has been plainly rejected (A recent CNN poll shows that Americans either want Congress to start over entirely or drop the subject all together). He even stated something to the effect that
you should take another look at our plans, and let me know if you have better ideas. I do appreciate some of the ideas concerning health care reform that Bob McDonnell threw out in his Republican State of the Union response: letting families and businesses buy health insurance policies across state lines, ending frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals that drive up the cost of our health care, ensure that the legislation to reform health care does not include shifting Medicaid costs to the state while cutting Medicare, and the ever pervasive ideological difference - do not turn our medical care system over to the federal government.

What were some of your thoughts and responses to our President's state of the Union Address last night?


Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

I thought the exact same thing you did when you said, "Although he claimed he was "not interested in re-litigating the past" and repeatedly spoke about moving past partisan politics toward creating solutions together, he continued to blame Bush for everything." He just didn't want to re-litigate HIS past.

And as for education, I didn't hear that the bonuses were going to reward teachers. I hope it does, rather than rewarding schools federal money based on testing scores. That clearly doesn't work toward good education; it only works toward good test-taking skills since all the schools want to do is teach to the tests. Doesn't work.

Great review. I couldn't agree more!

Tracy said...

Thanks Chel.

You're right, I didn't hear anything either about teachers themselves being rewarded, just schools receiving federal monies; and yes, that most likely will be for test scores. I have ambivalent feelings regarding the whole test thing. John just retired from teaching public school at the elementary school level and will strongly speak as you did here about testing isn't necessarily learning. I appreciate that, but I also think we have to have some kind of verifiable I'm somewhat at a loss on how to do that. I thought I also heard something about school options and charter schools....I'm certain I did in Bob McDonnell's Republican State of the Union response, so maybe I just got confused.

Denise said...

I agree with you dear.

RCUBEs said...

Honestly speaking, it's always promises I heard from the past and still the same nowadays, I turned off our tv. Just sick of mouths working and still no actions while so many are suffering. I know he can't right all the wrongs. But any improvement on anything done? Can't think of anything.
Each of us must do our part to help this nation. But if you have a blind leader, where is this nation heading to?

GCT said...

"We've already piled up the two largest budget deficits in U.S. history..."

Obama must be truly amazing to have done that, considering that the fiscal year starts in the preceding Oct. IOW, the fiscal year that just ended for us (2009) was begun and financed in Oct. 2008. Fiscal year 2010 began last Oct. So, the 2009 deficit (from Bush) was $1.75 trillion. The deficit forecast for 2010 is $1.17 trillion. Of course, that's still rather high, but you can't simply go from spending as much as what was spent in the preceeding 8 years to significantly less without throwing a monkey wrench into the works of how our government and our society functions. Also, in economic downturns, the government usually steps in and increases spending in order to help alleviate the problems that the citizens are facing. A targeted budget that does this works and helps us to ease the pain of recession. An out of control budget that dumps endless cash into a bad war ends up hurting us more.

Deborah Ann said...

I couldn't watch it.

I had a dream a few years ago. We had just elected a president, and he and his wife were black. This was before I even knew who Obama was, and before he even ran for president!

In my dream, I was at the White House talking to Mr. and Mrs. Obama. Michelle started speaking in a foreign language, and I just knew that they were not one of us. This is one dream that I wish hadn't come true...

GCT said...

So, what part makes them not "one of us?" Is it that they are black? Is it because they are Democrats? Are they not the right type of Xian? Wow, this smacks of all kinds of bigotry and racism.

Tracy said...

You know GCT, I realize that you don't know Debby and that sometimes what people write sounds different than what they mean, so I can see how you could read it that way. But I've read her blog for the past few months and have repeatedly seen that she's a real sweetheart. I've never in any way seen her demonstrate a racist or bigot heart.

JD Curtis said...

Perhaps by "one of us" she meant "theist" GCT. I have a feeling that Obama is a fellow practioner of your non-theistic religion.

I think he only attended Jeremiah Wright's church for the exposure and votes it could get him in the Chicago area. He's only gone to church 3 times since taking office and didnt even bother going on Christmas.

"My father was almost entirely absent from my childhood, having been divorced from my mother when I was 2 years old; in any event, although my father had been raised a Muslim, by the time he met my mother he was a confirmed atheist, thinking religion to be so much superstition." Barack Obama Link

This would hardly be suprising since his father was an atheist and there's been speculation that Ann Dunham was as well.

Perhaps he's following

GCT said...

I stand by what I said.

If it's because he's black (which she specifically mentioned) then it's racist.

If it's because she thinks he's not a Xian, then it's bigoted.

If it's because she thinks he's foreign, then it's both ignorant (considering the evidence has been produced) and bigoted.

But, hey, one of us common folks he obviously can't be, since he's trying to make sure that all Americans have health coverage. What a fiend.

Any comment on the obvious misinformation about Obama's budgets?

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