WASHINGTON D.C., Jan. 12 (Gephardt Daily) — Even with election year politics looming in the background, President Obama told Congress on Tuesday night that “we can work together” to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
Obama urged Americans to reject the partisan squabbling that has created gridlock in Washington and insist we “fix our politics” in order to create a more perfect union.
“The future we want ─ opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids ─ all this is within our reach,” he said. “It will only happen if we work together.”
In his final State of the Union address, Obama said anyone who says America is in decline “is peddling fiction.” In fact, the president painted a hopeful picture of a resurging economy.
“We’re in the middle of the longest streak of job creation in U.S. history,” Obama said.
The president said he knows “we live in dangerous times,” but the United States is still the “most powerful nation on earth, period. It’s not even close.”
The president said the United States must protect its citizens and go after terrorist networks.
But, he said, “We don’t need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is representative of one of the world’s largest religions. We just need to call them what they are ─ killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down, and destroyed.”
Recognizing a frustration and fear in the American public, Obama said, “There will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background.”
But the president said, “We can’t afford to go down that path. It won’t deliver the economy we want, or the security we want, but most of all, it contradicts everything that makes us the envy of the world.”
Obama concluded his hourlong speech saying positive change and progress is possible, but won’t be easy.
“Our brand of democracy is hard,” he said. “But I can promise that a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I’ll be right there with you as a citizen ─ inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped America travel so far.”
The president ended by saying, “I believe in change because I believe in you (American people).”
Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley offered the Republican Response.
Haley praised the president’s ability to deliver a message but claimed his “record often falls short of his rhetoric.” She said the presidential election this fall offers American voters an opportunity to move in a new direction.