Last night I watched President Barack Obama deliver an extraordinary State of the Union speech. A speech rich with honesty, a willingness to admit mistakes, real ideas, and a call for accountability on both sides of the aisle.
When I watched the Republicans sitting on their hands, refusing to applaud like a bunch of petulant spoiled brats, and some members of the Supreme Court donning holier-than-thou expressions when the president took them to task for an utterly asinine ruling that will allow big business, including foreign companies and unions to influence election outcomes with their hefty bank rolls, I wanted to smack each and every one of them upside their heads and remind them of something Mark Twain said: “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.”
It’s hard to tell which when I watch the members of congress. It doesn’t get much easier when I look at the media either. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, who deserves all the accolades he gets as long as they remain unexpressed, said the president’s speech came from a man “who doesn’t know what narrative he’s selling.” I put Douthat in the imbecile column. Then there is Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post who said the speech had “a decidedly paint-by-poll-numbers air about it.” Another arrogant heard from.
But the more accurate reflections on his speech can be found in the voices of the American people.
Russ Methlie of Brooklyn New York wrote, “We are close to a breaking point, and must come together, so he offered a banner we can all march behind. He is our private instincts manifest as an honest, righteous man. He is not our savior. He is not a benefactor. He is simply what we needed: someone to reminds us of who we are and where we were going.”
A woman named Eve from Norwalk, Connecticut applauded the speech and reminded us to “do your part: the slogan is not "yes, he can," it’s "yes, we can!"”
Obama was right when he reminded congress, “We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.”
Obama is listening to the American people, we can only hope the members of congress do the same.