Last Wednesday I watched the broadcast of President Obama’s first State of The Union address – a Constitutionally-mandated report that a sitting president has to relay to Congress “from time to time”
but that has become an annual custom that has been observed by virtually every holder of that office
since Washington (I did not do much research on that, so please do not email me back telling me
that I forgot about somebody).
Having been the very first time I sat through such an address (I would normally just read the highlights the next day on the New York Times), I must confess that I was a bit bored by all the pomp and circumstance – the constant applauding between sentences, the forced smiles and everything else. Having said that, I should say that I was impressed by the manner in which the US president was firm in his speech. Though some thought he might bring down his guard on health care after the Democratic defeat in the state of Massachusetts over a week ago, he proved that he is still firm on his plan to restore the nation’s in spite of the drawbacks and the open criticism he has been getting of late.
been an early supporter of the health care plan. Mind you, I am not a registered Democrat of a
Republican (I’m not registered with any specific party, for that matter), but being someone who
works part-time as a college instructor and as a freelance journalist, I directly feel the pain that
many Americans feel on this subject.
What the Tea Partyers have failed to understand is that if the system stays as it is – with health care being attached to full-time employment, the cost of health insurance will just increase as hordes of uninsured continue to fill emergency rooms to get treatment they cannot afford… and going bankrupt in the process. In the end, taxpayers end up footing the bill, because many hospitals end up being stiffed by those very customers, and then they end up depending on more and more government funding in the end.
I also thought that it was very brave of the President to speak up towards the end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in the military. At a time when referendums have been very damaging to the gay movement in the United States, to hear the president speak in support of ‘gay Americans who wish to serve their country’ was refreshing.
But the fact is that this country is horribly polarized between blue and red states, black and white, gay and straight and everything else. Bringing this country back to ‘One Nation’ will not be an easy task – I don’t even know how one could begin to do so. And judging by the faces and reactions of the Congressmen and women sitting on the right (and by the GOP’s lame rebuttal), this isn’t happening anytime soon.
As Sheryl Crow said in her song, “God Bless This Mess”