Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sputnik Moment

Tonight was one of my favorite political events of the year again--The State of the Union Address!

I thought President Obama's speech (well, at least the two-thirds of it) was very good. I like what he had to say about immigration. I like what he had to say about education. I like what he had to say about innovation (specifically in the area of clean energy). He addressed concerns about America being surpassed by other countries, and challenged us to be greater, all the while, elaborating on what makes the US great. His call to action was empowering by calling this our "Sputnik moment." He then addressed the pressing concern of the crappy economy and rising national deficit. However, reinforced his former ideas by saying, "Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you're flying high at first, but it won't take long before you'll feel the impact."

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) the clapping/standing/sitting/frowning/cheering wars between parties wasn't as nearly as pronounced this year. Perhaps in the spirit of what Obama said himself:
And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn't a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth. We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything's possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.
Amen! Sometimes that can be easy to forget in all the ugly bickering and partisanship in our political landscape.

P.S. Anyone catch the Survivor Reality TV show reference? "We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world." Seriously Obama's speech writer? Did you really include that? Sounds suspiciously like Outplay, Outwit, Outlast...

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