49.7 F
Bellingham
Saturday, April 4, 2020

Students respond to State of the Union address

In his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama highlighted the successes of his terms in office, yet also conceded fault in what he described as his failure to heal political divides in Washington D.C.

Obama focused on the rebound that the American economy has seen in the U.S. since 2008, ascribing it to sound, middle-class economics. He highlighted his policy towards the Islamic State, and pushed for technological innovation in environmental and educational spheres.

When speaking to the political polarization still prevalent in Congress and the country as a whole, Obama admitted fault.

“It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better,” he said. “A president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide.”

Republicans ascribed more problems than just partisanship to Obama, with many in the House of Representatives and the Senate offering their rebuttals after the president’s speech.

“Unfortunately, the president’s record has often fallen far short of his soaring word. As he enters his final year in office, many Americans are still feeling the squeeze of an economy too weak to raise income levels. We’re feeling a crushing national debt, a health care plan that has made insurance less affordable and doctors less available, and chaotic unrest in many of our cities,” Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., said in the official Republican response to the president’s speech.

Western students who watched the speech had mixed responses as well. Here are some of their thoughts.

 

Hailey Gruber is a senior studying cellular biology.

Hailey Gruber poses for a photo. // Photo by Kjell Redal
Hailey Gruber poses for a photo. // Photo by Kjell Redal

Q: How did you feel about Obama’s speech overall?

A:  I liked that he addressed the upcoming candidacy and it was interesting to hear his thoughts about it. I thought it was interesting compared to some of his other State of the Union addresses.

Q: In the address, Obama pushed for access to tuition-free community college and encouraged students to pursue careers in STEM disciplines. As a student, do you think these are good emphases for post-secondary education? Why or why not?

A: I thought the community college was a really sweet approach to it. I think it totally should be free for all students. I think the STEM disciplines are pushed anyways though. In general, people feel like they should be in those particular majors. Coming from somebody that’s in one of those majors, there are a lot of people that are like, “What am I doing in this major.” I don’t think that STEM majors should be pushed more than other majors.

Q: With this being the last State of the Union address, how do you feel Obama’s done as a president overall? Is the U.S. in a better place than when he took office seven years ago?

A: Better or worse… I think that some things have gotten better and some things have gotten, not necessarily worse. Better or worse… Neutral? Can I choose option C?

 

Danny Edgel is a senior studying economics.

Danny Edgel poses for a photo in Red Square. // Photo by Kjell Redal
Danny Edgel poses for a photo in Red Square. // Photo by Kjell Redal

Q: How did you feel about Obama’s speech overall? What did you agree or disagree with?

A: I thought it was pretty good. I watched all of his last State of the Union addresses as well, even when he was in his first term, because I come from a really political family. I like that he didn’t talk about a whole bunch of policies that aren’t going to happen like he did in the last one. Instead he went on and addressed a lot of misinformation that’s in the political dialogue right now.

Q: Do you self-identify with a certain political party?

A:  I’m a democrat, I’ve canvassed for democrats and stuff like that, but I’m one of the more moderate ones.

Q: In the address, Obama pushed for access to tuition-free community college and encouraged students to pursue careers in STEM disciplines. As a student, do you think these are good emphases for post-secondary education? Why or why not?

A: We definitely need more funding for STEM. I have a lot of friends who are STEM majors, and I’m a math minor, which doesn’t have as many of the same problems, but they simply can’t get into the classes they need. They end up staying six years even if they had enough credit,  just because the classes filled up. I think that’s a huge problem because it’ll discourage people from going into fields where we have a labor shortage. And as for free community college, I absolutely support it. You need that in today’s economy and it’s not something we provide enough access to.

Q: With this being the last State of the Union address, how do you feel Obama’s done as a president overall? Is the U.S. in a better place than when he took office seven years ago?

A: Oh, it’s definitely in a better place now. Just from factors outside of Obama’s control it’s better now because he entered in the trench of a recession. Naturally we were going to have a recovery over the next president’s term. But I definitely think a lot of the things he did and the things he was responsible for helped the recovery. I think the stimulus was really crucial.

  

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3,923FansLike
1,203FollowersFollow
5,480FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe

Must Read

Western lays off all RAs and apartment advisers

'Roughly 10' may remain to work with dwindling ranks of on-campus students This...

Sports: Pros and cons of Seahawks’ NFL draft pick Malik McDowell

Why did the Seahawks go after a defensive tackle with their first selection in the 2017 NFL draft? Coming off...

Dog processional honors the life of Western economics professor

Human and furry friends of Mary Ann Hendryson, a Western economics professor who died last spring, gathered for a...

Latest News

Western lays off all RAs and apartment advisers

'Roughly 10' may remain to work with dwindling ranks of on-campus students This...

Who, exactly, is ‘essential’?

State offers new reporting options for employees concerned for their safety In this April 2019 file photo,...

Do you know this person?

Police seek identity of man who died at Outback Farm By Melanie Bell

Pandemic waste production

Ariel Maldonado, owner of Instagram account @gogreensavegreen, spending time in nature. // Photo courtesy of Ariel Maldonado. By...

How local businesses are adjusting to closures caused by COVID-19

A microscopic view of the virus SARS-COV-2, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19. // Photo courtesy the Centers for Disease Control...

More Articles Like This