In Tuesday’s State Of The Union address President Obama said the state or our union is strong, and he is our absolutely right.
The state of our union remains strong, and we have seen an economic resurgence across the board in America. However, this resurgence of prosperity is by no means broad enough to constitute a strong recovery. As with any boom and bust cycle we have clearly left the bust part behind and are assiduously working on the boom. Unfortunately, as we are human, fractious, and ideologically divided, we are working just as hard against ourselves.
In truth, the lack of critical thinking and the desire to win for team continues to poison our debate, prevent compromise, and close off the possibility of resolving our issues.
In gauging the effectiveness of the President’s speech I think it is safe to say he did a good job. The address is always about stating what has occurred, what’s good, and what the President would like to do. In this instance he spoke about the direction the nation has taken in jobs, energy, education, healthcare, and debt/deficit reduction.
One must consider these areas with the critical thinking mind when deciding whether or not the President should take any credit for them. Consider, he pushed for and put into effect policy and law that first stemmed the tide of the recession, then funded our larger economic infrastructure for stability, and then gave corporate America the necessary funding and support to rebound. He caused this directly. Then, he put forth initiatives that aided all the areas that I just mentioned in effort to bolster and build up the middle class.
It should not be an argument about whether or not he should or should not take credit. He is our duly elected leader and he steered us in the direction that made progress in these areas possible. Yes, it is a fact that his efforts may have been secondary, or even tertiary to the actual growth experienced in many of these areas, but the facts are clear. Had he not stemmed the tide in the beginning, had he gone the path of Europe, and the Republicans, austerity and drowning the government to its smallest size, we would not be experiencing any resurgence in growth.
Those who are ideologically opposed and refuse to view the speech through the filter of critical thinking will say this entire speech was a repeat of old dead ideas. They will say the President only wants to spend more money. They will say that the President wants to raise taxes and ruin the economy. They will say he wants to give money to more Solyndra like companies, I guess because he likes giving money away. They’ll say he wants to raise the hourly wage to kill small business. They will in general say his entire speech is clearly about destroying America.
Of course, such a perspective lacks reason or rationality. However, it’s fully understood. They stand ideologically opposed and stuck in team mode, even if their team is neither Republican or Democrat. They have been deeply socialized and are incredibly challenged in moving beyond ideology to logic.
I am neither Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative. What I am is an aspiring critical thinker, and as such I strive to live by the hallmark of the critical thinker. The hallmark of the critical thinker says that you seek to internalize and understand the perspectives of others, most especially when that perspective is diametrically or even violently opposed to your own. If we do not rise to live and work by the mandate then we can’t close the ideological divide, and in order to elevate our politics closing the divide is absolutely essential. Extremism has no point or purpose in critical debate.
I voted for this President and one of the main reasons he earned my vote he stated in his speech. America expects compromise. America expects its government to do what must be done to move forward. Rational America expects actions, not obstruction. The GOP would do well to actually start listening before 2014. It is in their best interest.
The Republican response by Marco Rubio speaks volumes about what is irrational and broken in our dialogue. I say we must all listen to each other and Senator Rubio clearly didn’t even listen to the State of the Union. If he had, I would like to think he would have found it most appropriate to think and act rationally, and dismiss the speech he gave as totally arbitrary in light of the fact that all I did was highlight and support exactly what the President had just said.
If we are to elevate our politics and it is absolutely imperative that we must, then we must at long last move beyond the old tools and methods of power play, brinkmanship, and mass manipulation. Though no one party holds sway over wrongdoing it is clearly the GOP that holds the reigns of obstruction and anti-Americanism painted falsely as patriotism. The back and forth must stop. We must hold them accountable. We must teach them to abandon the extremism lauded by those in our commons who enjoy aggregating power at the expense of the people.
Consider it critically.
The Aspiring Critical Thinker,