A Reconciliatory State of the Union.
(ThyBlackMan.com) I love my President. I love our President. You should love him, too – even if you disagree with some (or even all) of his policies. You should love him, too – regardless as to whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent. You should love him whether you subscribe to a system of faith – or not. When you get right down to it, that’s what America is. America is about inclusion rather than exclusion. America is a place of exceptionalism rather than extremism. America needs much more magnanimity; and much less megalomania.
Last Tuesday night, President Barack Obama delivered a masterful State of the Union address. The reason why it was so masterful is because it was a call for reconciliation between Republicans and Democrats, between the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Congress, between Congress and the American people, between the richest Americans and the poorest Americans, between men and women, and between American citizens of all racial subsections. It was an incredibly optimistic and nationalistic speech free of political cheap shots and yawn-inducing recitations of party talking points. The President asked us all to do our part to make America an even greater union. How could anyone argue against that?
In the days preceding the President’s State of the Union address, various media outlets reported previews of Mr. Obama’s forthcoming speech as being filled with incendiary, unrepentant, criticism-filled language. Some reports hinted that POTUS was going to ‘go off’. Right-leaning bloggers and pundits spread the narrative that President Obama intended to – for all intents and purposes – take the United States Constitution, set it on fire, and polish off a cold six-pack of beer as he watched it burn. None of these prognostications proved to be true. I repeat: none of those things ended up being true. The President zigged when his political opponents expected him to zag. Muhammad Ali – one of the greatest boxers the world has ever seen – knows exactly what President Obama did; after all, he perfected the move.
It’s called the rope-a-dope. This strategy calls for a boxer to linger in a corner of the ring or against the ropes while appearing to be vulnerable. When your opponent moves in to attack, you wait until the last possible instant before you suddenly unleash a blinding barrage of punches and counterpunches. Your opponent’s own momentum is effectively used against him. This is what happened to those Republicans who sought to attack the President before the man spoke the first word of the SOTU. Those who did so looked foolish and petty in the process because they had fallen into the trap of overreacting to pundits’ predictions about the State of the Union; not the address itself. Left jab, body blow, right hook… knockout.
Here’s what President Obama stated as goals for 2014: “In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.”
Here’s what the President did call for: fixing our broken immigration system, repairing Section 4 of the Voters Right Act, closing Guantanamo Bay, equal pay for American women in our workplaces, responsible massacre control legislation to help eliminate mass shootings in the U.S., patience from Congress to give diplomacy a chance in the continuing efforts to peacefully prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb, strengthening the middle class, the building new ladders of opportunity into the middle class, reducing inequality in access to higher education, combating homelessness, closing unnecessary loopholes in our tax code, refurbishing our nation’s infrastructure, creating high-tech manufacturing jobs, continuing America’s pursuit of energy independence, doing more to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint, the restoration of unemployment insurance benefits, student loan reformation, universal high-quality pre-K, raising the U.S. minimum hourly wage to $10.10, and helping Americans to start their own retirement savings.
The President didn’t threaten or embarrass Congress. He asked its members for help. That’s reconciliation, ladies and gentlemen. Dictators don’t ask anybody anything; they usurp everything. Effective Presidents build consensus and are willing to compromise. Mr. Obama belongs to the latter – not the former.
82 standing ovations during the SOTU tell the tale. The President believes that the American people make the state of our union strong. He thinks 2014 can be our breakthrough year. He says the U.S. is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth. What say you?
Staff Writer; Arthur L. Jones, III
This talented brother is a local Minister, weekly featured Democratic Op-Ed columnist, non-profit advisor, and sees the Braves winning it all this fall. Rev. Jones welcomes your comments! Please email him directly at: email@example.com.