Wednesday, February 13, 2013

State of Disunion

Considering that President Obama used his State of the Union address to call on Congress "to put the nation's interests before party," it is surprising that he chose the same platform to say--for the first time in one of his SOTU speeches--that "the state of our union is stronger."

For years I have wanted Obama to echo the words of George W. Bush and tell the public that the state of the union is strong. Sure it always felt hollow when Bush said it, but it was a rhetorical device that evoked hope even in its absence of truth. Obama finally gave me what I've wanted for years...

...and left me entirely pissed off.

Though we have made some progress on the economy, energy and cutting the deficit, most of those achievements were accomplished only after months of political mudslinging and often coming within inches of completely toppling the economy. This shows--as Obama reflected at the start of his speech--that our union is anything but "stronger." It is fractured. Divided, even. The ideological split currently plaguing Washington seems to have been outmatched only one time in our history: During the Civil War.

I am not suggesting that the current divide is as powerful or traumatic as the Civil War was. However, the current divide hinders progress, discourages political participation by the 'average Joe,' and weakens America's position internationally.

No no, Mr. Obama. Methinks that our union is anything but "stronger" at the moment.


  1. I don't agree. Every generation always thinks (when times are bad) that they've never been worse. Example - People are so frequently compared to Hitler, and economic downturns are compared to the Great Depression, and internal fighting is compared to the Civil War.

    Right now we have politicians fighting in Washington. That's what politicians do. Times aren't even as bad as they were 4 years ago with the Tea Party or 18 months ago with Occupy Wall St.

    All we have right now is politicians fighting - that's something we always have had and always will have. In some ways that does make us stronger, but in most ways it just is what it is. Our country can be stronger regardless, and in spite of, how much politicians are fighting.

  2. Our politicians are doing more than just "fighting." In the past month alone, Congress missed its deadline to solve the 'fiscal cliff' problem. The legislature acted retroactively after the December 31, 2012 deadline to make sure that most of the new tax and spending policies that took effect on January 1, 2013 wouldn't apply. Also recall the last-minute fiasco with the debt ceiling, and consider that we have another spending debate going on now with another deadline looming closer. Who knows what Congress will screw with next because its too polarized for good faith negotiating and old-fashioned compromise?

    I am not comparing anyone to Hitler, nor did I say that this recession is as bad as the Great Depression. I also explicitly stated above that the current divide is not as powerful as was the Civil War. However, in my opinion the current divide is the worst since then. Many political leaders of an older generation have said time and again that the current polarization in government is unprecedented in recent times. The government has been hijacked by a bunch of uncompromising, ideologically extremist buffoons that dig their feet in the ground at the expense of the greater good, and that is a big problem.