Blogger Voices: “Mazel Tov, Obama”

Congratulations Obama

In Jewish tradition, when a boy turns thirteen he is called to read Torah in front of his family and friends, and in doing so, he becomes a man. He becomes someone who can shoulder adult responsibility. But, this is all lies. Voice cracks and braces overshadow the transition to adulthood, and so that pinnacle turning point remains a mystery. When does a boy become a man? Simple, when he cuts the bullsh*t.

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Likewise, last night, Barack Obama became the President of the United States. President Obama, despite the jeers and sometimes absent applauses, shouldered his responsibility and asked us to do the same. Last night, Obama cut the bullsh*t (for the most part) and thank God for that. He resembled the anomalous Jewish boy who experienced puberty before his Bar Mitzvah rather than after. Yes, he checked boxes off the public servant list, but he did so with a suave sternness that galvanized some Republicans to at least contemplate standing.

Don’t let Boehner’s Botoxed expression fool you; he’s just jealous his wife isn’t as hot as Mrs. Biden. Every party has petty people who assume the superior position as “observer“ and self-bequeath the right to judge those they spectate, and last night, the Republicans sat and watched. Of course that’s only their poor justification for why no has asked them to dance. Crossing the aisle requires participants, not spectators, and if the Republicans refuse to compromise then we are condemned to externalizing our prepubescent fears of rejection.

President Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address

Time and time again, thirteen-year-old boys have had to face their peers (invited by one’s parents without one’s consent) in a uniquely embarrassing ritual in the naïve hope of becoming a man, and in the end, the bullies and nerve-wracking cuties alike congratulate the boy out of respect for the ritual. The United States too holds itself to a holy ritual – that of democracy.

In last night’s address, Obama asked that we bear the weight of that platform in mind, because in moments where we may lose respect for one another we can reorient ourselves through the respect we owe our country. Obama acknowledged the bipartisanship of this country, because non-partisanship would be like an atheist Bar Mitzvah. Someone has to believe in something to sanctify the ritual in which they partake.

So when Obama inched closer to the podium ready to engage the congressmen before him, he did something somewhat unprecedented: Obama cut the bullsh*t (once again, for the most part). With regard to partisanship, Obama is not colorblind. Our ritual requires the vibrancy of the blues and reds we celebrate and purpling Congress will not make us stronger. Democracy breeds contention with the long-term goal of consensus. However, gridlock is not inevitable. Obama prescribed a new technique for Congress: rather than going backwards, try working backwards. Begin with the fundamental values both sides share because only from that origin do we honor the ritual that frames us.

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During the State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama poked holes in our binary understanding of America. Obama took a humble step back and outlined the often-missed big picture: if we don’t respect the ritual than we are nothing more than a prepubescent boy publicly committing social suicide.

Photos: Google Images, whitehouse.gov

4E Recaps the State of the Union

SOTUrecap

On Tuesday night, President Obama gave his State of the Union address. I know all you politically minded, intelligent Hoyas have probably already watched it, but for those of you who might have missed it (maybe that twenty-minute nap turned into a two-hour one?), I’m here to recap it for you. Here is what you really need to take away from the speech:

  • Obama, Vice President Biden and speaker John Boehner like to wear coordinated ties with purple undertones. You’ve got your stripes, checkers and your solids there, good job boys.
  • The crowd is doing a lot of leg work. In the first ten minutes they go up and down at least four or five times. Hope no one skipped leg day today, you’re going to need your strength folks.
  • We meet Rebecca, and the story of her marriage to Ben and their family. Obama is telling us how great it is to be young and love in America… are you promising us love, Mr. President?
  • He also tells the nation that “more Americans finish college than ever before.” Obama believes in us. Remember that when you’re locked in Lau during midterms: you can do it!
  • Obama also winks at the crowd a one point; he’s slowly becoming a silver fox.
  • John Boehner gets the sniffles during the speech. Clearly someone hasn’t gotten their flu shot this year! But don’t worry, we’re entering a “new era of medicine”, so we got you covered, Boehner.
  • Everyone needs to start following Scott Kelly on Instagram immediately. He’s going to be in space guys, and Obama commands him to put it on social media.
  • Russia is a bully, and we don’t tolerate bullies. Or hackers – get off our Internet please.
  • SCIENCE… Nature is going to win every time, guys.
  • Stereotypes are bad, but the cynics are wrong. “We are still one people.”
  • Obama has no more campaigns to run, because he won them all.
  • We are more than red states and blue states… clearly we should be purple like the color of everyone’s tie.

So there you have it, President Obama’s State of the Union speech in a very small nutshell. While some of the policies proposed were a little vague, focusing more on values than a specific “checklist”, there were also some great ideas in there. So whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, just remember that we’re 15 years into this century. That’s right, we’re all starting to get old. How I long for good old 2002 and the debut of Avril Lavigne’s first album.

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 Photos: zenfs.com, https://blogs-images.forbes.com/

Poli Sci for the Average Guy: State of the Union

polisciOn Jan. 19, 55.9 million “Joe Six Packs” watched the Seattle Seahawks triumph over the San Francisco 49ers and earn their seat at the 2014 Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos.

Last night, Jan. 28, President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address – a tradition coined by former President Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 as the “Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union” – to a whopping audience of 30 million (probably students earning extra credit in social studies). The State of the Union address began under President George Washington to ensure the transparency and accountability of the executive branch, and it is now used to test the ability of the vice president (Joe Biden) and speaker of the House (John Boehner) to stay awake. I kid.

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In case you missed yesterday’s State of the Union, 4E is here to fill you in with the President’s major points (with a few jokes laced throughout):

Jobs: “Insourcing” is the new outsourcing, just like “Scandal” is the new “West Wing” (not sorry about it). Obama aims to co-invest with American businesses in American-made technologies and rewrite tax laws that make outsourcing feasible.

Housing: President Obama is handing over $15 billion to create new construction jobs and to help recover foreclosed properties.

Minimum Wage: Things are looking good for entry level workers: The president proposed a federal minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $9 by the end of 2015 with adjustments according to inflation.

Gun Control: Background checks and mental health services are part of Obama’s plan to combat gun violence.

Afghanistan: 34,000 U.S. Military forces are coming home.

Immigration: President Obama wants new legal citizens, and he’s willing to develop new pathways to achieve it, but until then, the 11 million immigrants in the U.S. … can wait? Work? But not illegally!

The Ladies: Obama stated that all American women should be protected and promised to investigate and prosecute instances of sexual assault or domestic violence under the Violence Against Women Act.

Early Childhood Education: The executive hopes to make preschool available to children of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Trade: Hey European Union … lemme get wit you …

Federal Budget: We’re aiming at a $4 trillion deficit reduction, but take a load off, we gave ourselves 10 years to reach that number.

Energy/Climate Change: The plan is to implement tax credits on the production of renewable energy sources.

Education: Mo’ high quality high schools means mo’ college students … and mo’ money … and mo’ problems? Or maybe just more education.

Well, that’s the SOTU in a nutshell for you. For a more detailed analysis of last night’s speech, head here. In the meantime, keep checking in for the next installment of Poli Sci for the Average Guy.

Photo: politico.com