Tonight was the State of the Union address. It was fairly vague and filled with small commitments that aren’t quite the “wins” most people were hoping for. That said, there are some highlights and points of contention that should be addressed.
One this mentioned was tax reform that created incentives for NOT outsourcing jobs. This is something that I’ve been advocating for years. If it comes to pass, it’ll be a huge win for the American worker.
President Obama made a big show of pushing for the US to retake the lead innovation. I can’t agree more that this is necessary to remain at least viable, if not on top, within the global economy. The problem is that currently in our country, access to quality education is terrible.
This is a pretty broad problem, actually, that applies to a few parts of the address. The two main problems in the public primary education are the voucher system and standardized testing. First and foremost, the voucher system needs to go. Stop taking tax dollars from our public schools to subsidize religious indoctrination, and a segregation based on wealth. Put those tax dollars into real public education reform.
The standardized testing system is the greatest detriment to our youth. They’re being taught to pass a test, and nothing more. We need to restructure the public education to focus on HOW to think, not what to think.
Now, for higher education, there are even more problems. You want to lead the world in innovation? Then EVERY American should have access to higher education. As it stands currently, attending college means huge debt, which is terrifying in the current economic state of the country. Those in that are living impoverished have very little possibility of attending college. They either need to work full time to help provide for their household, or they simply don’t have the ability to get to college or pay for books. In most parts of the country, grants won’t cover it. Depending on the school, even maxing out grants and loans barely scratch the surface.
President Obama said that no middle class youth should be barred from a college education. I think he’s wrong. NO American citizen, regardless of class, should be barred from a college education. Period.
One thing I was happy to see was the acknowledgement of the gender inequality in America. He didn’t pull punches on it either. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. I hope his words tonight will be a catalyst for that change.
Gitmo and the NSA
The President declared that he would close the base in Cuba and reform the NSA spying programs. This is not acceptable.
He’s been promised to close Gitmo since the primaries. Stop talking about it. Get it done.
The NSA programs don’t need reformed. They need eliminated. They violate the rights of private citizens in America. Period.
It was mentioned that we’re stamping out the heinous acts of terrorism and promoting Democracy abroad. This is utter bullshit.
The reality is that we’ve created the terrorist sentiments against America. We need to stop arming dictators. We need to stop supporting Israel’s oppression of Pakistan. That’s the only way to fight terrorism.
Instead, we’re being the terrorists, using drones to kill innocent people all over the world. Promoting Democracy? Not quite. We promote democratic leadership we can control. Beyond that, they’re on their own.
This needs to end.
So, all that said, it was a fairly disappointing address, with just a few highlights. Some things were brought up that need addressed, but at this point in the game, I want to see action, not words. President Obama is a Demcocrat. The Democrats are not a left wing progressive party in 2014. They’re center-right at best. They only seem more liberal because the GOP has taken the far religious right stance to new levels.
It’s time for progressive voices to be heard. Make that voice yours.
Contributor: Robert Sacerich
Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.
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