Women leaders in various communities in New York were asked their opinion on the State of the Union address of Pres. Obama. They have mixed reactions to his speech. Everyone applauded at the President in criticizing and discouraging racism that continues to divide America. Many gave him the thumbs up for the message of hope for economic and political reforms. But these were the same breath of skepticism on the truth about the economy and foreign policies that perpetuate war. Hear them:
“The State of the Union is strong. Indeed. It is all about perspective, there has been much achieved and much more to accomplish.
I was pleased at the mention of unconditional love and the nuances of change during President Obama’s speech but I would have also liked to hear about the sailors captured in Iran and details about immigration, education, gender and wage equality, gun safety, and healthcare/health issues.
I appreciate the time he took to remind everyone of the importance of focusing on what we all have in common, rather than what divides us, in order to unite in reaching our goals but I also wanted to hear him speak to the younger demographic.
It seems that most of his statements were directed to the opposing parties. Anyway, the question still hangs: how can our leaders disagree without degrading or dehumanizing one another and blocking each other’s progress? When we finally figure this out, it may just be the secret to peace and success for every relationship, city, state, and country across the board.”
Entrepreneur and Holistic Health Practitioner
“I liked his optimism about the future and greatness of America. It was a message of love, confidence for humanity.I liked that he wants better salaries, wants more benefits for the troops. He still has his agenda. I don’t agree with his war policies. I think he would have been a better president in different times.
This country needs to work together despite partisan differences. He gave a strong message that he is not giving up his dreams for his last year in office.”
“The obvious has been said. We can sustain peace if we work together without politics. Parties are more divisive today because of politics. Political reforms are needed. Changes in political process on how officials get elected and financial campaign reforms are necessary.
USA is the most powerful country in the world. Period! Respect for the USA is not because of its arsenal but because of its respect for diversity and openness. I believe that.”
Multi-awarded community leader
“It’s generally a feel good SOTU. I am reminded why I choose America as my country of citizenship and at the same time I am reminded of my responsibilities.”
“I thought there are a lot of ideal ways to work for change. Citizens taking responsibility by casting their votes, staying involved and educated about the political process and working together as Americans are important. But realistically, the ones who have the true power over resources, the real decision makers, are not ready to give up greed, racism or sexism. They are not willing to not risk a war, as social problems reap money for them.
I thank Obama for making the effort to make some real concrete changes however we, citizens continue to deal with the brunt of the oppression. Everyday a child is murdered, every day women and children are dying, in Syria Liberia, Jamaica, Indonesia and yes America. There is an increase of diabetes, obesity and other diseases. Ebola still exists but it is just not talked about as much.
America is no different than any other country in power. It just just has the best resources and privileges. It is just as tyrannical as any other country of power. They feed off the people and do not care about anything but maintain their power and wealth.”
“He is impressive when he tackled Donald Trump’s and other Americans’ exclusion attitude towards certain religion and race. It was valiant and necessary. And I like when he said that the US is the most powerful nation on earth.
I like when he mentioned that the country should stop policing other nations and we can’t afford to rebuild the countries like Iraq and Vietnam and we should learn from the past. He may not be the best President but I think he did a good job after the US was in turmoil under the Bush administration.”
Mona Lunot Kuker
Artist & Babysitter
“Once again, Obama has addressed the country to encourage optimism and hopefulness. He has declared that America is still a super power although will withdraw its role as a police of the world. I assume America’s military strategy will be lesser aggressive this time. It gives a mixed signal here.
He also emphasized his free two-year community college education to deserving candidates. His pre K program was well received. He assigned Joe Biden to be the head of the mission on health care to cure cancer. What a noble mission! It is the best battle that America will ever fight and conquer.
Over all, his State of the Union address was short, simple, optimistic, and reflects a big heart. I admire the way he presents his agenda to the Nation – brief, precise and positive. No exaggerations and focuses on the strong points.
While it’s true that these will only happen if the citizens of America cooperate collectively, I bring back the responsibility to the President to show a good leadership and avoid dividing the people for his stand on certain sensitive issues which he did not tackle on his speech. But bottom line, there is hope for America.”
Nurse, Veteran’s Rights advocate
“I felt that the speech hides the truth that the economy, security, and government dependence are the biggest threats that this country faces. ”
Businesswoman, president of Philippine Heritage Center
“While President Obama’s final State of the Union address discussed important changes regarding healthcare, education, equal pay, paid sick leave, clean energy, and creating new jobs, there was something deeply unsettling at the heart of the speech: it is the continued call for perpetual warfare, and the utmost belief in American exceptionalism. America’s longest continued war in Afghanistan received only one mention, offhandedly. And as the President and our lawmakers celebrate the troops, continue the wars, and build our military arsenal, the people continue to suffer: Obama’s tenure saw the deportation of more than one million undocumented people; the poverty and housing crisis in America is deepening; innocent people have died and will die because of drone strikes against Daesh and al Qaeda.
He arrogantly boasted about dead leaders of terrorist groups—no mention here of the millions killed by American troops and drones in the last 14 years alone—and simultaneously upheld Muslims as mascots for diversity and empire in America.
The War of Terror is not a distant memory: the 103 men still being held at Guantanamo Bay prison are living reminders of a failed humanity. Embodied in American consciousness is a failed humanity. The fact that we spend more on the military than the next eight countries should be a signal to fix your priorities, rather than a cause for celebrating imperialism and xenophobia.
The myth of America’s greatness feeds the misguided belief that our military might is wanted and welcome across the world, when in reality it only paints the image of a sick and wounded predator barking at the smallest disturbance.”
Poet, MA student on Divinity Studies at Harvard University