By Mahogany Waldon
On Tuesday, Jan. 12, President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union Address. Since coming into office in 2009, President Obama has been the face of change for the United States. His address reflected on the progress of the nation under his administration and spoke to the hopes for the next five years, four of which will be under a new president.
Change was the focal point of the president’s address. During his presidency, President Obama was a stickler for change in healthcare, education and criminal justice reform. President Obama has also been the face of change as the first African-American president of the United States.
President Obama credited the “American spirit” for the progress the nation has seen in healthcare reform, more benefits for troops and veterans, and in the economy. In his speech, the president reflected on Obamacare and the historic Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage that occurred during his presidency. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was signed into law in 2010 by President Obama and was the president’s single-most important piece of legislation. Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide.
Within the address, the president mentioned four questions that need to be considered going forward as a nation.
How do we give everyone a fair shot in our economy?
How do we get technology to work for us?
How do we keep America safe?
How do we make policies reflect what’s best in us?
“The United States of America is the most powerful nation in the world. People do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead, they call us,” President Obama said.
President Obama also readdressed his stance on ISIS. While mentioning the strength of the U.S. military, President Obama mentioned that the U.S. has the power to maintain order in the face of the threat of ISIS.
“Ask Osama Bin Laden; when you come after Americans we come after you.”
President Obama also spoke of immigration, leadership, race and the hope that efforts by congress would be made to end cancer, HIV/AIDS, and malaria worldwide. Among his other hopes, President Obama also wants to see the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba shut down.
“This is not a matter of political correctness. This is a matter of understanding what is wrong,” President Obama said.
The address also mentioned the Iran Nuclear Deal that was agreed upon last July. Earlier before the address, President Obama vowed to veto anti-Iran deal legislation that he feels will prevent the U.S. from its obligations to the deal.
The address came at a somber moment as 10 U.S. sailors remained detained in Iran, but they were released the following day on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
This last State of the Union Address by President Obama denotes the end of an era and the last of eight years in his historical presidential administration.