By Eric Bennardo
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — While President Barack Obama discussed many different issues in his Jan. 20, 2015 State of the Union Address to Congress, three specific issues stood out to me the most. These issues included: the economic statistics mentioned in his introduction, comments on ISIS, and his thoughts on education and new job creation.
In his introduction, Obama cites several statistics that I saw as successes of the U.S. He talked about how the unemployment rate is lower than it was before the crash of 2007-2008. He also said that the rate of job creation is the highest it has been since the turn of the century. These two statistics say a lot about the state of the American economy as it stands in the beginning of 2015.
Obama also mentions that our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is the lowest it has been since 9/11, something that I personally applaud him for.
Finally, Obama stated that almost ten million people who did not have health care a year ago now do, which is something else I thought was worth celebrating.
I view these as wonderful achievements that deserve much recognition from Congress. However, judging from Speaker John Boehner’s lack of enthusiasm, not everyone felt this way. The lack of applause from Speaker Boehner, as well as the facial expressions from some of the congressmen and women, was in a way appalling to me. After all, everything Obama said, in my view, seemed to benefit people on both sides of the political aisle.
I also support the president’s view on how to deal with ISIS. He stated that we as a nation should go about combating and ultimately destroying the terrorist group.
He emphasized cooperating with the rest of the world, as ISIS is more than simply an American problem. Almost every single country has been affected in some way by this group, and it is the duty of these countries to work together in order to dismantle and defeat ISIS.
Finally, Obama discusses education and new jobs for the future. He has stated that he is a large supporter of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)* based industries, and stressed how important it is for the U.S. to return to the top of the list of best-educated countries in the world. This can only be done by hiring more effective teachers who have the ability to innovate and create better teaching methods. The emphasis on the importance of STEM must also become a priority for the United States’ education system.
In conclusion, I would like to say how important it is for young people in our college age group to pay more attention to political events such as State of the Union Address’. We are the next generation, and it is our responsibility to invest some of our time and energy to become better informed citizens. This will provide the opportunity for us to effectively lead the future generations and maintain the free society that allows us to partake in the political process in the first place.
*CORRECTION: The original online and print publication stated that STEM stood for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Technology, however, it was meant to read Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.