State of Congress

President+Obama+during+last+week%E2%80%99s+state+of+the+Union.

Courtesy of whitehouse.gov

President Obama during last week’s state of the Union.


Last week, President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union speech, but will anything actually come out of this?

By the end of the State of the Union, many Democrats felt a much needed boost of morale after their crushing defeat in the November elections. President Obama’s charm and confidence, which was more often seen in his campaign speeches, was very much present.

“I have no more campaigns to run,” said President Obama. A few Republicans then responded with a sarcastic applause. “I know because I won both of them,” responded President Obama. The jaws of Democrats in the White House dropped. Perhaps Bill Cosby may want to take a few notes on handling hecklers.

He took every opportunity to jab at Republicans.  With the new Republican majority, Congress still had their eyes set on building the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this month. “Let’s set our sights higher than a single pipeline,” said President Obama.

“The shadow of crisis has passed, and the state of the union is strong,” said President Obama as he boasted on the economic turnaround of the United States. He proposed other ideas that are purposed for increasing and strengthening the middle class. These proposals include free community college, fair pay for women, lowered taxes and paid sick days. Democrats greeted these proposals with applause.

Republicans could not even bring themselves to applaud for the economic turnaround, much less for issues like equal pay. It was no surprise that the only thing that was greeted by applause from both sides of the room was any mention of any veteran or the military. How can we expect to have a working government that debates and come to compromises when the politics has become so polarized?

As great as President Obama’s speech was, it was merely a speech. The likelihood of these proposals turning into bills in the next two years seems very unlikely because of the Republican majority. Unless he managed to sway the opinions of Republicans that night, the only thing he accomplished was framing the positions of the Democratic Party for the coming election.

It is clear that the new Congress still does not seem ready to make bipartisan deals. But how can we expect a functioning congress when millions of Americans do not participate in the election. For the next two years, President Obama has to work with a Republican run congress, a change that was decided by the 36.4 percent of registered voters who decided to vote.

The State of the Union was definitely a feel-good moment for Democrats. It serves as the example of the positions Democrats need to take in future elections. These are the issues Americans will turn out for.