President Obama stands his ground in 2015 SOTU address

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President Obama stands his ground in 2015 SOTU address

CC0/ Public Domain

CC0/ Public Domain

CC0/ Public Domain

By Talia Hendel, Staples High School

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As the granddaughter of a former democratic Senator, blue is definitely in my blood. However, I found myself questioning several of President Barack Obama’s proposals while watching his State of the Union address. He was very convincing and I agree with many of his statements, but there seemed to be some missing pieces.

For one, the President’s speech seemed more like a Democratic Party platform speech than the State of the Union address. He was repetitive about how important it is to compromise, but made sure the Republicans didn’t have short-term memory loss by stating every two minutes that he had the power to veto their bills and wasn’t afraid to use it.

This seemed like a defense mechanism. He’s well aware of Congress’s lopsidedness and knows he needs to stand his ground. This I am not opposed to.

I agree that some of President Obama’s proposals – such as his “middle-class economics” ideas of free two-year community college, paid maternity leave, and equal pay for women– will make a positive change for the nation. Or should I say “would” agree, seeing as the hyper-partisanship is so extreme right now, it would be easier to pass a kidney stone than a bill in Congress.

Obama’s response to the cheers of the Republicans after his statement “I have no more campaigns to run” was reminiscent of a sassy catfight between Serena Van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf in the show Gossip Girl: “Because I won both of them.”And I loved it. I can’t recall laughing during the State of the Union speech many times in the past.

Sometimes, though, the 53 year-old President seemed too much like his teenage daughters when he spoke of Instagramming from space and threw around casual lingo.

The President highlighted a spectrum of Americans, from the average Joe to national heroes, to emphasize true American values. He appealed strongly to the emotions of American citizens – and it was very effective.

But seeing as he recognized how much the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda are still continuing to impact our society, it’s surprising that he wouldn’t focus more on protecting our country from terrorist groups such as ISIL. He seemed more focused on what he’s accomplished – such as improving American businesses and bringing the country out of a recession – than what needs to be done to protect our country from a very imminent threat: terrorism.

Obama is too focused on leaving behind a legacy of what he set out to accomplish to get his priorities straight and accept the urgency of protecting the people of the United States. Closing down the prison facility at Guantánamo Bay shouldn’t be his top priority. Gitmo can wait. The safety of a nation cannot.

I don’t agree with everything President Obama said, but ultimately, I admire his resilience. It’ll be tough to pass anything, but he certainly won’t let anyone forget who’s boss.