Last night President Obama delivered his State of the Union address. After discussing plans to solve America’s debt (cut government spending), increase clean energy (issue a challenge with a funding award), and improve education (reward good teachers), the key take home point seemed to be: America needs to win the future.
Um…what? I was under the impression that in order to win something, you needed to be competing against someone. Also, the competition is generally for something that can be possessed. A trophy, a title, a giant chocolate bar. But the future is coming whether we want it to or not, whether we win it or lose it. Obama’s speeches have consistently impressed me, until now. While he brought up some exciting goals (high speed rail access for 80% of Americans within 25 years, 80% of energy from renewable resources by 2035), the speech itself was ridden with absurd American jargon like ‘winning.’
It was the rhetoric, not the content I had a problem with. It was vitally important to call attention to the fact that 1/4 of American students don’t finish high school, and that China now has a better educated population, the fastest computer, and the largest solar research facility. But are competition and a desire to the best the only things that motivate Americans? What about enjoying life and striving to provide everyone the best life possible, not necessarily in relation to other countries? But no. We can’t just have a personal best. We have to BEAT EVERYONE ELSE!
It would have saved everyone a lot of time and effort if, in lieu of the speech, networks had just aired the following:
Same thing, really.
But in all seriousness, Obama is taking care of business, despite what Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin (Republican Party), and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota (Tea Party) said in their follow-up speeches. For example, Bachmann asserted that ‘instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth, [Obama] engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs, but also plunged us even deeper into debt.’ Um…
False. Bachmann also mentioned that ‘unless we fully repeal Obamacare, a nation that currently enjoys the world’s finest health care might be forced to rely on government-run coverage.’ The world’s finest health care, eh? According to the World Health Organisation, The United States is ranked #37 as a health system, based on general health of the population, access, patient satisfaction, and how the care’s paid for. Canadian, French, and British citizens have longer life spans than Americans and the British pay less than $10 for prescription medicine. In France, cancer patients are treated free of charge.
I think it’s time to start winning, America.