Last night the President gave his third State of The Union speech. Obviously this one being of uber importance because it’s an election year. Now, I will admit up front…I live for this stuff. There is nothing better than being caught up in the emotions of a well delivered political speech.
For me the SOTU is like a big high school pep rally with the President acting like the quarterback that’s going to win the big game and restore the honor and respect of his hometown.
Except unlike a pep rally where we all proudly wear our school colors and chant the fight song Washington has turned into a modern day western with everyone “stickin’ to their guns” and their ideology, regardless of how rigid or outdated.
The President spoke about us all being cut from the same cloth and needing to unite the way our military does when they’re in battle… How can we do this when at each turn our elected officials choose to pin us against one another rather then find common ground? How is it possible for us to unite when we live in a society that boasts various levels of access and full citizenry based on class, immigration status, and sexual orientation?
Don’t get me wrong I believe in the President’s message and the “one nation under God” verse, but when we have candidates that glorify firing hardworking people and “one upping” each other to see who is the biggest xenophobe or homophobe–I can’t help but sigh at his hopefulness. Why? Because sometimes I see very little. I am a black gay women living in America and the rights and protections I’m guaranteed depend on what metro stop I’m at. If I land in Virginia I’m an outcast; in MD I’m sorta recognized; if I hit DC I’m golden. What type of security is that? Where is the hope?
We tell our children if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing. We tell them to treat everyone fairly, and then we turn around and deny people basic protections because of who they love and where their parents were born?
Just this week a story is circulating about the first birth of 2012 in North Carolina. Generally baby stories garner “oohs and ahs”, right? Nope, this one garnered racist slurs and xenophobia…why? Because the first baby born was Latino and therefore the readers decided he needed to be sent “back to where he came from”. That story just highlights where our country’s thinking is right now–steeped in hate.
Representative Giffords sat in the audience last night and received a rousing round of applause. Yet a year ago her district sat in the “crosshairs” on Palin’s website. Today, the Congresswoman is a reminder of just how far our political divisiveness can go–being gunned down in your home state at a rally on jobs?!?
So, when the President talks about ending the “drama” and turning down the heat in Washington I want to believe him… But then I turn on my TV and I hear the term “Food Stamp President” and how poor kids have no work ethic and that bubble of hope bursts.
How can the U.S. lead the world when we can’t seem to get out of our own way? Like the President said last nigh “we are our own worst enemy”.
Our next election isn’t between two candidates with two varying ideologies… The decision in November is between who we are and who we were meant to be. And I want to believe and have hope that our choice will be to never go back to what was and to continue moving forward along the path of what could and should be.
Now, let’s get to work! #2012