2016 State of the Union Comments

Printer-friendly

SOTU2016

As a presidential candidate I'm expected to comment on any significant event, this would include State of the Union speeches. I did watch the 2016 SOTU speech in its entirety. If you'd like to view it you can do so at this link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu


The full transcript of the speech can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/12/remarks-president...
I will only highlight some of the comments given by Barack Obama. I will block quote the speech segment and then comment immediately below the segment.


"I hope we can work together this year on some bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform -- (applause) -- and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse."

While I don't want to read too much into this statement, typically when giving such a speech, the first topics that are mentioned are considered the most important to address. If Obama thinks that criminal justice reform and drug abuse help are the most pressing issues in the USA, then he misses the mark. This is especially true because Obama's idea of criminal justice reform is letting drug offenders out of prison earlier than the judicial system prescribed. This is way outside the Executive Branch's purview.

" I believe [there is work that] still needs to be done. Fixing a broken immigration system. (Applause.) Protecting our kids from gun violence. (Applause.) Equal pay for equal work. (Applause.) Paid leave. (Applause.) Raising the minimum wage. (Applause.) All these things still matter to hardworking families. They’re still the right thing to do. And I won't let up until they get done."

The immigration system ISN'T broken, the problem is it isn't being enforced. It is ALREADY against the law for someone to enter into our country without going through the proper channels. But since we don't enforce that part of the "system", the rest of it breaks down. As for the rest of the list here, it is typical of the Leftist agenda -- see http://rodericke.com/f-f where I discuss in detail the difference between the Left and Right approach to America.

"But for my final address to this chamber, I don’t want to just talk about next year. I want to focus on the next five years, the next 10 years, and beyond. I want to focus on our future."

This is rather presumptuous only because Obama's proposals are shared by at most 50% of the population. To assume a future generation (or even the very next president) won't want to undo Obama's initiatives shows that he has been pushing them through without support.

"...there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change; who promised to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control..."

This is a clear reference to Donald Trump's proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants and deport illegal immigrants already here. This has nothing to do with fearing the future or slamming the brakes on change. It has to do with maintaining the principles and ideas that...well, make us who we are; as America. We are a nation of laws; laws that protect the individual from the constant creeping encroachment of the mobs and from government overreach. The "past glory" is not so much about the past as it is about the very fiber of what made America, America -- a land governed by the rule of law as articulated in the liberty amendments. Again, the so-called "broken immigration system" is something both parties keep claiming they want to get "under control". The difference is how that plays out.

"...we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love."

I still find this hypocritical in that it only allows a person to "love" another person. If they are going to be consistent, stop being incremental and instead apply the motto to marriage in general. Let people marry multiple people. Let 5 homosexual men marry 5 other homosexual men for example. Why hold on to the monogamy part of "tradition"? Why even limit this to marriage between humans. Why not allow a person to marry their pet. You may think this is ludicrous but to many the idea of homosexuals marrying is also ludicrous. Contracts between people are their own business but marriage is a different kind of institution.

"...[we have an] uniquely American belief that everybody who works hard should get a fair shot."

Why is it that Leftists like Obama and recognize and acknowledge some "uniquely American beliefs" but not other uniquely American beliefs? Why also do many Leftists seem to HATE these uniquely American beliefs? In this case, this belief that hard work gets a person a fair shot is not even really an uniquely American belief -- that is STILL a Leftist belief. America only promises OPPORTUNITY, not success, even if you do work hard. You could work hard all your life but not be as successful as a person who worked smart all their life. America does not promise that everyone will get a "fair shot", only that they have the opportunity to make of their life what they are willing to put into it; be it through hard work or smart work. Leftists are always trying to equalize the playing field. It will never happen because all humans don't operate on the same initiatives and desires. Some may want to work hard. Some may want to work smart, and some as we know don't want to work at all.

"It’s not too much of a stretch to say that some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job, in the same place, with a health and retirement package for 30 years are sitting in this chamber. (Laughter.) For everyone else, especially folks in their 40s and 50s, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher. "

This is the truest statement of the entire speech. As you watch the politicians from both parties, you realize most of these people are completely out of touch with the rest of us. Most of these politicians never had private sector jobs in their lives. They have always worked with the government or some affiliate. Yet here they are lecturing us how we should live and what desires we should have. Originally, our government was supposed to be made up of common people, going to Washington for one or two terms and then returning to the private sector. Instead, there is an entire elite class that is out of touch with the rest of us.

"...[Some people are] echoing the lie that ISIL is somehow representative of one of the world’s largest religions. (Applause.) We just need to call them what they are -- killers and fanatics..."

The problem is Muhammad, the founder of Islam killed people and advocated his followers to kill people. Muhammad was a killer, thus anyone who imitates Muhammad is a killer. ISIL/ISIS may in fact be a more accurate representative of one of the world's largest religions than those Muslims who do not kill. After all, ISIL is more accurately imitating Muhammad. And before anyone thinks of using an argument that Christianity or some other religion has their share of killing people, we're talking about the FOUNDERS of these religions. Neither Jesus, nor Buddha, nor Sikh Guru Nanak killed people or told their followers to kill people. This is not the case with Muhammad who was a killer and urged his followers to be killers. We must NOT ignore this FACT.

"If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, authorize the use of military force against ISIL. Take a vote."

This misses the point. Even if ISIL was destroyed, just as we were told Al Qaeda was destroyed, the problem lies in the source of the violence -- the original teachings and example of Muhammad. If a person faithfully imitated the lives of Jesus or Buddha or Guru Nanak, they would NOT be violent. If a person faithfully and literally imitates the life and teachings of Muhammad as laid out in the Qur'an, they will always be violent or at the very least extremely hostile to other people. How is that "war won" with bullets and bombs?

"We also can’t try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis, even if it's done with the best of intentions. (Applause.) That’s not leadership; that’s a recipe for quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure that ultimately will weaken us. It’s the lesson of Vietnam; it's the lesson of Iraq -- and we should have learned it by now. "

This may be the comment that most Libertarian and conservative minded people can appreciate. Our focus should be on the USA. While we aren't advocating isolationism, we cannot keep trying to turn every country into a little America, especially since much of our founding is..."uniquely American". There is a reason we have arrived at our principles and views, which took us all the years of our nation's existence to build. To think that other nations can simple mimic us is wrong. We saw that during the French Revolution where they thought America's Revolution was about class warfare and class envy. The American Revolution was uniquely about opposing and stifling tyranny against all "classes". Too often, when other nations claim they are mimicking America, they end up talking about "democracy" -- which America certainly is not. Democracy is where a mob of people vote to impose upon an individual; whereas America is an unique an idealized Constitutional and representative Republic which has as its main axiom; the protection of the individual against the imposition of the mob/majority. We do this through inalienable rights -- rights that cannot be taken away by vote or even most of the time by forfeiture by the individual. Once we forget why a Republic is different than a Democracy, the great experiment of America will be over. This misunderstanding of that difference shows in this next quote by Obama.

"Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, and set us back in Latin America. That’s why we restored diplomatic relations "

If we have been trying for 50 years to promote democracy in Cuba, then it was doomed to fail because democracy requires a majority. Castro was never going to allow a majority to dictate to him. Even America was NOT founded to be a democracy. It was and hopefully still is a Republic where laws and inalienable rights protect the individual, both from the mob of a majority and from the whim of a dictator. If Cuba is ever to really be "free", they will need to have some sort of revolution (bloody or bloodless) that deposes dictators and mobs alike. Restoring diplomatic relations while a dictator is still in charge says to the Cuban people and to those who had fled Cuba, that we don't really care that the Cubans aren't free. To be fair, we have diplomatic relations with other non-free nations. The difference is, there was nothing to be gained by restoring relations with Cuba while it was still a dictatorship. We should have been urging a birth of a free Republic in Cuba, rather than a mob called "democracy" which was never going to be.

"Our Founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue, just as they did, fiercely, over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and the imperatives of security."

Okay, then politicians on BOTH sides need to stop claiming we just need to be "bipartisan" or that we need to stop being "obstructionists". Our government was designed to move very slowly. It was designed to be curtailed and stalled so that it cannot easily impose upon the people. When policies are rubber-stamped or steamrolled through, often without time and opportunity for the lawmakers to even read the laws, it does a disservice to the people it misses the design of our government. Our government was NOT designed so a president can "act without congress" or with his pen and phone alone. The branches of government were designed to check and even hold back one another until a consensus of the "common welfare and liberty" are met. Perhaps the most obvious breakdown in that design is the direct election of senators rather than the designed appointment by state legislatures (see 17 amendment). The Senate no longer fulfills its role as representative of its respective state governments, but has become more like the opposing football team to the Congress. It has made the Congress/Senate a redundant body that no longer gives checks and balances to our government.

CONCLUSION

All in all, this speech wasn't bad. There was certainly overt socialism within it and potshots at GOP candidates and constant erroneous mention of America being a democracy, but it did encourage optimism and wittingly or unwittingly admitted to uniquely American principles, such as the power distribution or our branches of government. As such speeches go, there was nothing in it glaring nor anything surprising.