By: Alex Fernie
What Obama Should Say in the State of the Union
Tonight, Obama will give his yearly State Of The Union address in front of a joint session of Congress, scattered Supreme Court Justices, the Joint Chiefs and those random people that always get to sit up in the balcony with the First Lady (I can’t wait to be one of those people some day!) In an election year, the speech always takes on increased importance, since it tends to be a bit of a kick off for the stuff we’re going to hear over the next intolerable 10 months.
So, since he absolutely cares what I have to say, here are some suggestions I have for Barack as to what he should say tonight in the SotU.
– “Nice work, Washington state. You guys are pretty cool.” – Washington looks like it’s headed towards legalizing same sex marriage. That is undeniably (to anyone who isn’t awful) a good thing. The distance the country has come on gay rights in not only the last 50 years, but even the last 15 is astounding. But it’s an ongoing battle and the people at the top need to keep hammering it home ‘ this is the direction is history is going, this will happen, this is right. History has been a steady march towards broadening and deepening the rights of people, and this is a huge one that should happen sooner rather than later.
– “No Hunger Games spoilers, guys!” – I’m going to assume that, like me, Mr. President has not read the Hunger Games, but has a mild interest in seeing the movie. So I hope he calls a nationwide ban on any spoilers. Just so Barry and I can go into the film fresh.
– “Hey Congress. Voting on nominees is not an optional part of your job.” – Voting on judicial and department nominees is not like signing up for the office softball team. You can’t just pretend you didn’t notice the sign in the break room. Republicans have spent a good chunk of their time insisting that a huge amount of Obama’s nominees come nowhere near getting a vote, and it’s hamstrung a number of courts and important appointments. Hopefully, that can turn around. But in an election year, it’s unlikely.
– “I’m calling on Rihanna to just tone it down a little. We get it. You like sex.” – There are like TONS of things people can write songs about. Here is a partial list: airplanes, sweaters, The Lord of the Rings, jungles, George Harrison’s wife, a cool cloud you saw. Not everything needs to be about fucking. Maybe Rihanna just needs a guy like Obama to point that out to her.
– “Corporations are not people.” – Because we don’t live in a fucking dystopian Philip K Dick story. This precedent has been allowed to stick around for far too long (specifically, since a weird reading of the 14th Amendment in the late 1800s) The original idea was that corporations are people only in that they can sign and be subject to agreements and contracts. Great. That seems reasonable. But then it went into Lewis Carroll-level leaps in logic and language to the point where now there are people who actually believe a corporation retains all the rights that a living breathing human being has. The only way to turn back the craziness that lead to Citizens United is for people who matter to mention this every time they get. Point out that it is a CRAZY POINT OF VIEW! Over and over and over. The Supreme Court DOES respond to the conventional wisdom of the time. And if the left can get the non-political wonks to care about the, eventually it will be rolled back in the courts. But until then, there is no way to disentangle unlimited corporate money from our political process.
– “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for Best Picture? Really?” – Seriously. That is some bullshit.