By Troy Daugherty
Obama’s final State of the Union address took place on Jan. 12. If anyone has watched the president’s former speeches, they will notice that this one had several different qualities about it.
For one, it was noticeably shorter than the usual time that he spends speaking at this event. But the bigger changes was the context within the speech.
Usually, the President focuses on plans that he has for the future of the country and what he would like to get done over the next year.
He still did this a bit, but for the most part the speech focused on what he has already done with his time in office and provided a look back over his two terms.
He defended the “welfare nation” and focused on how the financial crisis was caused by Wall Street investors. He defended people on food stamps, which was a slap to a lot of the Republicans in the room who have been actively trying to cut food stamps for some time now.
He also took some swipes at the Republican front-runner Donald Trump by slamming his anti-Muslim message.
He pointed out that insulting Muslims does not help the United States, but instead makes us look intolerant and our country loses respect.
As expected, he spoke of ISIL for some time. He wanted to make it clear that while ISIL is a threat to civilians that should be destroyed, they are not a threat to our nation’s existence.
He explained that the United States is the most powerful nation on Earth and that people can kill civilians at times, but those groups will in turn be destroyed entirely while the U.S. will remain.
He continued by denying the accusations that he is not fully committed to defeating the terrorist organization. “If you doubt America’s commitment — or mine — to see that justice is done, just ask Osama bin Laden.”
One of the most uplifting moments of the night was when he spoke of a new “moonshot” to cure cancer. He said that if the U.S. puts the same determination into curing cancer that it did into trying to reach the moon, then the task could surely be completed.
So, he put Vice President Joe Biden in charge of gaining more resources and leading the effort to make this possible.
It was an optimistic message that will most likely gain the attention of many in Congress and elsewhere, to give as much as possible to fight for a cure.
The last major thing that the President focused on was the two parties inability to work together. He said that Democrats and Republicans need to come together to have reasonable conversations and that he was open to all ideas.
The President spoke of his one regret here: saying that he felt the two parties have become more divided since his presidency began and hoped that they would become closer in the future.