Obama still hopeful with congress in cynic state

Obamai LlamaTyler McNeil

Creative Editor

“I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are wrong,” said President Obama to congress in his sixth State of the Union address.

This was by far, my favorite quote by the President last Tuesday night. Obama’s approval rating is at 50 percent, the first time since spring of 2013; 15,000 troops are positioned in Iraq and Afghanistan; economic prospects are higher than they have been since the Great Recession; and lastly, the state of education has been improved.

The majority of traditional students at Hudson Valley were not eligible to vote when Mr. Obama assumed office six years ago but as a 13-year-old, I remember a dynamic spirit of hope and change that has now become the go-to line joke for cynics. That is where we fail.

Change is what we’ve seen over the course of these last six years with the Tea Party, Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements; marriage equality benchmarks; the end of a multi-trillion dollar war; the questioning of corporate responsibility after the Deepwater Horizon Incident; the repealing of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’; and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden and the start of a new relationship with Cuba. This change is important to see where many cynics went wrong last Tuesday night.

About 30 million people besieged their television screens to witness our political body in action — it didn’t seem like a jolly family reunion. It was a speech centered on unity as our Commander-in-Chief has committed his political rhetoric to embody within six years, winning him to oval office in 2008. But, contrary to his solid prose expressing coalesce in our democratic body making brief appearances like strong cameos in an excellent straight-to-DVD film, “unity” was only one component of a desperate agenda in front of an irreverent congress.

The last two years of the President’s term in office will be vastly different than the first two years of his presidency. The State of the Union address last week captured that like a bear trap. It’s a different landscape with a different supermajority.

While a wave of prevailing friction has been caught within the District of Columbia, silence and tumbleweeds roll across voting booths all across the nation. The country hit a 72-year-low voting turnout since 1942.


It’s not challenging to become a cynic in this atmosphere. The predominantly red congress has been bitter towards the President’s agenda and of course, vice versa. Bitter tension rests within the Keystone XL expansion, the free community college proposal and the executive order for immigration reform.

There’s still dire challenges in the way. The President opposed passing new sanctions against Iran in an effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. John Boehner’s invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel did not help close virulent ties with the sovereign state against the Iranian threat or with the President.

Obama mentioned another looming threat which is been historically hindered by the GOP, “In Beijing, we made an historic announcement – the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions.” Yes, the threat of Climate Change leading 2014 to be the warmest year on record is now recognized by China. Victory, right?

Fortunately, the good news is that the GOP is starting to realize that denying climate change will isolate coming-of-age voters like marriage equality and immigration reform. The bad news is that we will probably hear about the closing of GTMO in the President’s last State of the Union address without any course of action.

Obama secured roaring applause in authorization to fight ISIL. Yes, ISIL — that radical group you only hear about from the President. Issues like simplifying the tax code; updating infrastructure; supporting science and education programs; network security and protecting intellectual property and veteran job programs are all places where both sides of the aisle can merge. That’s something we can believe in.

Looking beyond controversial agendas and focusing on the middle ground isn’t bad politics, its pragmatic politics. As 2016 draws closer, it’s important to seek out “Hope” and “Change” as more than a mere slogan. It’s not about being manipulated failed promises; it’s about faith, resilience and unity.

Taking a glance passed a seemingly gloomy congress, a less than satisfactory voting turnout and neglecting to see where America stands in comparison to six years ago is important to understanding the true value in our overall state of the union.

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