The Kansas City Star asked me to post my immediate thoughts on the speech tonight. So here they are for better or for worse!
By Maggie Jackson, Kansas City Star Reader Advisory Panel
Well thank goodness tonight’s speech wasn’t quite as much of the fluffy, sickly sweet speech President Obama has given in the past. This speech actually made a little bit of common sense. Sometimes he even sounded like a scolding parent.
Some of the key points I picked up and noted were on education, health care reform, government spending, exports, the government we deserve, military, environment, and the institutional loss of faith. Since I don’t twitter, I’ll just throw out my random laundry list of views.
Obama was absolutely correct that a high school diploma just won’t make the cut anymore. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve told my own children that an Associate’s Degree is equivalent to my high school diploma. Without one you just won’t get very far.
As far as student loan forgiveness, personally I can’t agree. If you take out a loan, then you should pay it back. That is just the right thing to do; anything else is simply passing the debt onto somebody else.
Health Care Reform:
Michelle Obama plans to work on reducing childhood obesity. Here’s a suggestion, start by bringing back frequent PE classes in schools. Then begin encouraging schools as well as families to eat fewer processed foods.
Obama pleaded that somebody provide him with a better option for health care. Well, here’s a suggestion, give Americans the same health care the politicians sitting in that chamber have. Or better yet, take away their health care and make them pay for it themselves. Perhaps if they have to struggle to provide health care for their own families they may actually be capable of empathizing with their constituents.
One trillion has been added to our national debt. Yes the Federal government should tighten their belt. As a parent it is my responsibility to model appropriate financial responsibility. It’s about time the government does the same. Now let’s see if it actually happens. I’m not very optimistic. The politicians like their pork too much to actually serve us efficiently.
Freeze government spending for 3 years? Perhaps Obama watched the movie, Dave, because his commitment of slashing wasteful spending reminded me of a similar scene in that flick.
Obama stated that America needs to double exports over the next 5 years. Well, it’s about time we start exporting more of our own products! I’m tired of seeing “Made In Anywhere Besides America” labels and stickers.
The government we deserve:
Here’s an idea, go back to the constitution and cut out all this two party talk. There are other political parties and it about time they be recognized. That would be a great start toward restoring public confidence.
Posting earmarks and lobby activities is a very good idea. Our public servants need to be held accountable for all their actions, including those that provide financial advantages.
The statement “Every day is an election day.” couldn’t be truer. It is part of the reason many have tuned out Washington in disgust.
“This war is ending and all of our troops are coming home.” Is a nice idea and it was equally wonderful that he has provided a concrete timeline for terrorists. However, will all our troops be pulled out? Probably not; this statement is hollow at best.
As a veteran, the equality of gays doesn’t bother me. I know of several gay past and present military personal who love this country as much as I do. This is just the next right step in the don’t ask, don’t tell mandate.
Obama reiterated the need to treat our military personal and veterans with respect. That’s a good reminder. I know my Dad, who is a Vietnam Vet, appreciates the emotional shift toward “all” the men and women who have served this nation.
As a Leave No Trace trainer, I’m all for personal, business and governmental responsibility toward the environment. No matter which way a person feels about global warming, treating our planet with respect is the right thing.
Institutional loss of faith:
We’ve lost faith in our biggest institutions because they don’t reflect American values. They only reflect the values that will put money in their pocket.
Most corporations provide us with poor quality merchandise. Many treat their employees as disposable organic material. Sometimes it’s just hard to find the love for Corporate America.
The media is all about ratings and sensationalism. What happened to just reporting the news in a straight forward fashion? Who cares if it’s breaking news? If it’s breaking why wait until after the commercial break?
As for our government, Obama said it best, “every day is an election day.”
So I say, “Remember, there can be no trust until trust is deserved by a show of action.”