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?