Oh man, how hype were you for the State of the Union?! I mean, maybe we’ve been disappointed at times with the man or the administration, but I think we can all agree that he has speech giving skillZ, for realZ. (Ok I promise I’ll only do that obnoxious Z thing like…. one more time…)
Here’s the entire speech, if you’ve got time to kill:
Obams had my heart swelling at a few key moments. The first was when he shouted out the first lady, Michelle, for being a bad ass role model. Their affection for one another gets me every time.
He also had some choice quotes about the state of ladieZ (last time) in the good ole’ USA:
“Today, women make up about 1/2 our work force, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014 its an embarassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”
“It’s time to do away with policies that belong in a Mad Men episode.”
What? A Don Draper shout out!
“She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job… and you know what, a father does too.
I believe when women succeed, America succeeds.”
Excellent nod to the basic principle that ‘women’s issues’ are truly universal, and that pro-women policies will also have a positive effect on men and men’s lives. Subtle, yet forceful. I loved this part of the speech. I saw some ladies in the audience being roused from their seats, excited that he was touching on these issues as part of a larger ‘economic strength’ theme, seeing their concerns reflected in his vision. It was great.
But. Yea, that ever so small but. There were some concerns notably absent. He steered way clear of reproductive rights issue when discussing the Affordable Care Act, which I totally get. It’s a hot button topic. He did mention that pre existing conditions no longer block coverage, and that kids can stay on their parents insurance longer, both of which are awesome parts of the bill. And he did shout out women, who can not longer be charged a higher rate because they are, well, women (UGH DUH YES.) However, reproductive choices and contraception have great bearing on the financial well being of women and families. So discussing those aspects of the law would have been an on target point.
He also steered clear of gay rights completely, and in general kept the speech’s thread tied to economic well being. And I appreciate the arc and overall coherence of the address. However, some things can’t be measured in dollars and cents. Safe spaces, personal well being and fulfillment, a life without fear, all things that can’t be directly addressed through economic policy or tax code. Those were points I was hoping to hear him take a stronger stance on. I also missed some of the environment portion, I know he said climate change is for sure real (awesome!) but he also was all about natural gas and if that’s fracking then that’s probably bad news bears right? Maybe? I’m not an expert so I’ll just save that for future commentary by folks with more going-green knowledge.
Overall, I thought he was eloquent and persuasive. I’m amped to hear him state outright that he’s going to take action on his own, without involving Congress, since they have proven to be useless. I hope this new attitude carries over from speech fodder to real life executive orders. If he manages to raise the minimum raise this way, well I think I’ll just faint. Honestly, I’d love to see him go truly radical. Nothing he mentioned was really that revolutionary, and it astounds me that the other side thinks he is ‘socialist’ or ‘far left.’ Almost everything sounded to me like common sense, very middle of the road. But I guess that’s why I steer clear of politics (and large geographic sections of this country…)
What did you think about the gender issues he touched on?