State of the Union Wrap-Up

Gavin Gondalwala, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Last Tuesday, President Obama delivered his last, and possibly most important, State of the Union address. In case you missed it, here are some of the points he touched on:


  1. Gun Violence: With tensions steaming on the campaign train, everyone waited with baited breath for the President to discuss gun violence. However, all people received was a statement that we need reform in order to keep our children safe and that there are brave men and women (the police force) who are doing their best to protect the safety of the streets.
  2. Climate Change: After attending, leading, and pledging support of COP21 at the Paris Climate Conference, President Obama has begun to outline clear points as to how we as a country are going to make the changes necessary to elicit a change in accordance with the proposed laws. This, however, begs the question of who will be in charge of all these matter. His answer? Why, Vice President Joe Biden, of course.
  3. The Economy: Pointing to the undeniable fact that the economy has grown by 14 Million jobs and the fact that the unemployment rate has been cut by more than half since he assumed office in 2008, he states that the economy is currently in another period of growth. Looking to the next five years, he states, will only bring periods of prosperity.
  4. ISIS: Addressing the group as the proper ISIL (Islamic State of the Levant [the area of the Middle East encompassing Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and parts of Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt]), and not ISIS, he states that this group is not one of “radical Islamic terrorists,” but rather, “killers and fanatics who have to be…destroyed.” This is a direct reference to the carpet bombings that numerous Republicans are pushing for. Although he does not condone to bombing civilians, he hints that we may see boots on the ground in the coming months. The President did ensure, however, that this is not a war on Islam, notably stating that when politicians insult Muslims and other minorities, that “it’s just wrong.”  

    killers and fanatics who have to be…destroyed.

    — President Obama

  5. Minorities: With the Black Lives Matter movement in full force, the President really did not have a choice but to address this. He states that he has a plan in the works that will secure unalienable voting rights for all. With the decision of the Supreme Court to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, numerous red states have chosen to implement “voter identification” laws and only offer voting in English–both of which push to edge out minority voters. The President, however, seeks to allow everyone to fulfill their civic duty and vote. Despite all of the controversy, however, the President only briefly mentioned his plans to “[fix] a broken immigration system.”


Unexpectedly, he did not mention any of the Republican candidates hunning for office; however, he did allude to the fact that some candidates in the race, notably Trump, would make a mockery of this country and the office itself.


In accordance with tradition, the Republican Rebuttal was issued soon after the speech. After a series of somewhat botched deliveries, this time the party nominated Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina to issue the statement. With an incontestably excellent delivery, Haley talked of how the accomplishments of the President’s term have fallen short of his “soaring words.” She further disagrees in that she states that President Obama must be “unwilling” to deal with terrorism, despite the pledges made in his speech. Governor Haley also nodded to the fact that the GOP has candidates, other than Trump, that would be able to deal with these issues with swift accuracy.


Overall, the President even stated that the purpose of this address was to look towards the future to ensure that it is safe and secure. Although he left many wanting more, he did just that. Lily Clark (12) states that the speech “had focus and was delivered well; however, [she] wished it went more in depth.”