Barak Obama delivered today his State of the Union address to the US Congress. In a totally politically redesigned House. It wasn’t Nancy Polesi sitting behind him but a new House Speaker – Republican. Was he ready for a fight, ready for a year of confrontation?
No. The president appeared at his best, a s a great orator and conciliator. A President, not a politician. It was interesting to observe the Congress and it’s reactions to the speech and to particular segments of it. Few times few people didn’t join the customary ovation. Yet, everything was proper, dignified and void of political posturing and pettiness. It always amazes me how the American political structure can overcome its bitter divisiveness and rally at important moments behind the symbols of the state and nation. Not many countries developed that ability.
A for the message oft he presidential address – well. A bit of everything: economy, of course, promised to start to reign in the abysmal deficit, the withdrawal from Iraq, the usual bla bla about Afghanistan, warm words to Armed Forces (America is perpetually at war with someone, thus the military complex is very important every year). Patriotic, non-partisan, eloquent yet simple. Two years ago I would say – brilliant. But after well over a year of good speeches and very limited action I don’t hold my breath. I must say that despite all the things good about Obama (the biggest seem to be that he is Obama, not Bush) I am somewhat disappointed in him. He does change things, but it is such a lon and convoluted process that by the time they are changed – they are really not that much different than before. In a sense – a lot of great words and not as much great deeds. Perhaps it is only as much as he is able to do. Perhaps the forces and establishment working against him are bigger than he expected himself. Perhaps. It might explain why things are the way they are but it doesn’t change the way they are. Nonetheless, it was uplifting listening to his address. It is nice to hear and watch our leaders when they are at least appear to be wise, compassionate and good.
Speaking of parliamentary openings – our own Mr. Harper will soon deliver his budget in Ottawa. From all the posturing and chest-thumping sounds on the right, left and center it looks like it might be the last of this government. As for me – it could’t be soon enough. Whatever the results.