Hearing First Speech

I have had the opportunities to listen to Reagan, Clinton, Bush and just now Obama’s State of the Union 2014.
The applause at the end was the longest, for Cory, a veteran of the Afghan war, soon to be ended. He personifies not only what’s best, but also what’s so burdensome about America’s entanglement in worlds affairs i.e. “alleviate every man’s fear and want”. What a “white men burden”, while at home, people either not working , or not receiving unemployment benefits if any. America’s exceptionalism collides with inclusivism.
Manufacturing jobs will soon be “in-sourced” to reverse the offshoring trend (tax code and labor code remain a challenge). “Give them a raise” (camera shot shows Union Leader in the audience).
Heard it before.
Already, the RAND corporation released an 11-point scenario on “should N Korea fail”.
It’s true that the chiefs of military establishment were present but the emphasis has clearly swung toward the exercise and exertion of “soft powers” e.g. Iran cooperation and sanction as last resort.
Some have compared Obama’s oratory skills to that of Reagan’s. In this, I beg to differ. At the end of Reagan’s speech, he helped us visualize an America, a city on the hill (the drive through breath-taking 101 coastal highway in his home state, California).
I still remember that vivid picture in my head years later.
Just as I will with that ending applause and appreciation for Cory, but this ending did not require one’s effort to visualize the scenic drive. It’s true there is so much goodness in America past and present (equal pay for equal work, voting acts, broadband and healthy school lunch). But because it stretches itself too thin (the world) and too deep (invention of the future – environmental leader), it is vulnerable and resource-fatigue.
Call it Messianic complex (whose end is crucifixion) mixed with entrepreneurial drive (top 1 per center, and the widening gap of upward mobility. During the Gold Rush, it’s those who sold pixels and blue jeans that actually made money).
It’s not hard to notice the mixed bag of priorities: we want to lead, we want you to join, we want you to pay and we want you to sacrifice, all for an ideal that lately has not worked for Main Street.
I also noticed the absence of Hillary Clinton, now replaced by John Kerry (whose camera shot appeared right after Mr John McCain, who liberal voting records made him less popular among GOP peer). I am glad it’s been a long way since the 10 Japanese-American internment camps to the 10 Research centers for Innovation across the country. It’s 2014, not 1954. A chamber full of women representatives (which helps our cameraman to pan easily to make the point about progress on women issues) visually paints the point on “what good for women is good for America”.
Who wouldn’t applaud that (they represent our mothers, wives and sisters). Still they earn 70+ cents on the dollar men earn. So the speech should have been twice as long if all issues were to be addressed. No mention of NAFTA disappointment for Mexico, or the sale of Google’s Motorola to Lenovo (already wobbled up Think Pad and IBM server division. Yet cheers were across the room at the mention that it’s US and not China that is now number one preferred investment destination). At least, the gun violence incidents in school, mall and theater were mentioned briefly.
What a mixed record, and like the heightened results on Wall Street of late, none of the money has trickled down to Main Street. Both New York and Washington are conveniently located too far from heartland America or the borders of Texas for ordinary folks to see real changes.
I would wait until the illegal crossing activities to pick up as better indicators of a recovering economy.
It makes for poor visualization (human crossing) of an otherwise nice speech wrap-up.


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