State of the Union: It’s Complicated.

I watched the President’s State of the Union Address like I always do. I watched all of George W. Bush’s State of the Union Addresses, as much as they hurt to both listen to the disjointed speaking and the disagreeable talking points. The fact is that this is my country, I’m interested in what the government is doing to it, so whatever individual is president, I’d like to hear what he has to say, especially when he’s announcing initiatives that will affect the government under which I live. Make sense?

Of course, the internet is full of people who proudly announce that they intentionally did not watch the State of the Union because they had already formed their opinion in ignorance and are quite satisfied with keeping it in tact. A subgroup of those people are my friends, and all of them still subscribe to Ron Paul’s sociological ideologies. I usually don’t have a problem getting along with people who have different political, social or religious ideologies since I can easily maintain respect for individuals with informed opinions. That is to say that if we disagree, I won’t be the least bit bothered if you’ve got sound reasoning behind your conclusions. I enjoy discussion and keeping an open mind and greatly appreciate those who do also. This disposition naturally adopts friendships with different people and I’m grateful.

My Facebook can be a dangerous place for someone who has not researched their opinion or, as the case was with the 2010 State of the Union, have become so inert in their disagreement with the current administration that they automatically shun any cooperation or enlightenment to the future. While I’ll be direct but respectful in my disagreement with such willful ignorance, I know my other friends would have no such discretion. It never ends well.

One of my 2010 New Years Resolutions was to stop arguing with people who are wrong on the internet. By “wrong”, I don’t mean “disagree with me”. By “wrong”, I mean having a viewpoint that was formed in ignorance with a distinct, sometimes admitted, lack of fact or logic with a devotion to keeping that viewpoint regardless of any information presented that is contrary. This is what I would call “willful ignorance”. So I approach my friends with caution when they go on and on, knowing that the people I respected are now people with which I wouldn’t waste my time talking.

It was pretty clear to me in January 2009 when the tea baggers announced that anything President Obama did or said would be met with extreme opposition and degradation that President Obama’s first year in office would accomplish nothing of notable content. I was amazed that Health Care Reform has gotten so far. President George W. Bush forced his own extreme partisan government by leaning his administration so heavily on the right. There were few moderate initiatives proposed, fewer established and the country suffered. While President Obama’s initiatives have been moderate in an effort to increase bipartisan cooperation, the anti-Obama spin has caused a severely disproportionate view, making Moderate the new Extreme Liberal. With Moderate the new Extreme Liberal, it has compromised many Democrats to appear more Conservative than they should be for the party and for the people they were elected to represent. If anyone wants to know why Boston’s senate seat went to a Republican, it is because the DNC is a formless mass of indecision and witless stance and their candidate for that seat represented that perfectly.

Anyone on my Facebook sees me identify as “Very Liberal”. Ten years ago, I would have put “Moderate”. These days, it’s not enough to qualify as a moderate if you support the Bill of Rights and only restrict gun possession for automatic and semi-automatic weapons that endanger the immediate safety of the public and compromise law enforcement’s ability to protect and serve. These days if you think education and health care are human rights, you’re “too liberal to live”. One of these days, I’ll blog a list of where I stand on popular issues, as well as what are my pocket issues. I haven’t done a post like that before in my blogging life so it might be interesting, at least for me.

I’m continuously skeptical of all politicians. I know D.C. is about the limited power that shifts and an individual’s desire to gain and keep as much of that power as possible. I know that the actual desire to help people and improve the country has a lower priority, ranking under keeping a positive appearance at all costs and manipulating circumstances and issues to reflect that public relations. I know it’s an environment of “What’s in it for me?”. So, I don’t assign any hope to the initiatives that I heard in the State of the Union. Not only am I skeptical of the administration’s ability to follow through with starting them, I’m skeptical of the Congress’ ability to approve them, and I’m skeptical of the media’s ability to report factually so people don’t panic like a dumb mob over baseless fabricated arguments. We saw it with Health Care Reform. At the time, I said that only an idiot would oppose Health Care Reform. Tea baggers and like-minded media made sure to create the idiots for a loud opposition by fabricating terms like “death panels”, claiming no one would ever be able to see a doctor, and wrongfully slandering the UK health care system. People actually swallowed that insanity!

So, I watched and enjoyed the President’s State of the Union Address. I thought the talking points were direct, the jokes were funny, and the message was agreeable. I identified a lot of bipartisan initiatives and saw a genuine attempt to forge repair of the damage done by the previous administration while safely handling the on-going responsibilities. He said a lot of things that I like to hear about health care, about education, and about employment, especially considering the issue of foreign trade.

But I’m not holding my breath.

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