Clarion, Pa.- The State of the Union is a time-honored tradition in United States history. It provides a yearly platform for the president to unilaterally consume the attention of prime-time television audiences in order to discuss the country’s pressing matters.
In the Constitution, the sole mention of the State of the Union address lies in Section III, which reads: “[the President] shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
Until Franklin Delano Roosevelt coined the term “State of the Union” in his 1934 speech, the address was most commonly referred to as the “President’s Annual Message to Congress.”
Moreover, the address was just a simple handwritten letter to Congress, with every president until Woodrow Wilson following this trend, rather than a formal and glorified public event.
What began as a simple message to Congress has transformed into something much bigger than any of the Founding Fathers could have possibly anticipated, and this transformation could not be more evident than in President Obama’s most recent State of the Union address.
Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union to the first Republican-majority Congress of his presidency. In this new majority come 13 elected House Republicans from Pennsylvania.
Many important issues were discussed in the president’s hour-long speech, most notably the improved economic standing of the nation and the continuing fight against terrorism on both domestic and global fronts.
Among other things, the president’s proposals included a plan to make community college free, guaranteed paid sick leave for seven days, and tax hikes on the wealthiest of Americans with simultaneous tax breaks for the middle-class.
Some members of the Republican caucus in the chamber applauded when the president said he “had no more campaigns to run.” Improvising his response, the president said, “I know ‘cause I won both of ‘em!” to the applause and cheer of the Democratic caucus.
Some members of the Clarion student body commented on the president’s address, junior Nick Rhoades, president of the Clarion Young Democrats said he “really liked the speech. The President was really confident and optimistic, and that definitely came across.”
Freshman Kyle Lepczyk also gave the president’s speech a solid thumbs up, saying that he’s not really into politics.
“President Obama did a good job in explaining the issues while also giving his opinion on what the Congress should do about it,” Lepczyk said.
Ushered in by a Republican controlled congress, the stage is set for the final two years of the Obama administration.