Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let's talk. . .

If anything can stimulate a spirited reader discussion on the WMRA blog, it seems to me has to be  last night's speeches.

Melina Mara/Washington Post

President Obama began his State of the Union address last night with these two paragraphs:
Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the president shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they've done so in the midst of war and depression, at moments of great strife and great struggle.
It's tempting to look back on these moments and assume that our progress was inevitable -- that America was always destined to succeed. But when the Union was turned back at Bull Run, and the Allies first landed at Omaha Beach, victory was very much in doubt. When the market crashed on Black Tuesday, and civil rights marchers were beaten on Bloody Sunday, the future was anything but certain. These were the times that tested the courage of our convictions and the strength of our union. And despite all our divisions and disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one nation, as one people.


 Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell began the Republican response with these two paragraphs:
I'm standing in the historic House Chamber of Virginia's Capitol, a building designed by Virginia's second governor, Thomas Jefferson.
It's not easy to follow the President of the United States. And my twin 18-year old boys have added to the pressure, by giving me exactly ten minutes to finish before they leave to go watch SportsCenter.

So, what did you think of last nights speeches? To join the discussion, please click on this link, or below on "comments" (it will have a number in front of it, which is confusing I think) and let us know, or e-mail me and I'll post whatever you have to say.


  1. I didn't listen to the speeches. I was spending a lot of time with other people on Facebook mourning Howard Zinn, who died yesterday, and whose life mattered more than that of most Presidents. I heard from dozens of people for whom reading The People's History of the United States was a determining moment in their lives.

    Barack Obama is president today in large part because of those people. And whether he really takes action to create jobs, and whether he is prevented from putting foolish budget restrictions in place, and whether the wars he hardly mentioned are ended, will depend, as it always does, on the real deciders -- mobilized people at the grassroots. They kept the US from overtly invading Central America under Reagan, they (mostly in Europe) ended the Cold War, and they brought us every decent social program, from meat inspection to sewage treatment to battered women's shelters to Social Security.

    Speeches matter, but not as much as the day to day struggle for change. Zinn knew that and validated that, and in a profoundly politically unaware country, he made a huge difference.

  2. M.R.C. "My 91-year-old Dad said Obama is the speaker he has ever heard."

  3. Boy I sure hope the people can make a difference because it doesn't look like congress or the president is going to make it happen . . . .

  4. I thought this was a magnificent speech. It could not have been a more difficult situation for Obama. He had to give a speech to Congress and the nation amid tremendous criticism, but he pulled it off. Although the speech was more than an hour long, it went by like five minutes. Obama answered every question I had as well as admonishing do-nothings in Congress and do-the-wrong-things on the Supreme Court. It renewed my confidence that he will fight for a just health care plan, new jobs, and regulation of the financial industry.