Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I'm Hoping For A Go-To-Hell Speech

    The first item on my list of things I'd like to hear from the President in his State of the Union address is that we are getting out of Afghanistan A.S.A.P. Of course, it will go back to the Afghanistan it has always been as soon as we leave, whether that is sooner or later (just as Iraq has). Americans are still getting killed for no good reason. We are supporting a corrupt government in Hamid Karzai just as we did in Vietnam back in my day. If we feel as if we're letting our "allies" down, leave all our stuff behind. If Karzai can't hold on to power with all the equipment and material America has in Afghanistan, too bad. That's probably billions in aid right there but I don't care. Just bring our people home.

Secondly, I'd like to hear Obama talk about the minimum wage and the plight of the working class and our increasing income inequality, in general. The rumor is that he's going to raise the minimum wage for low-ranking government contract workers to $10.10 by executive order. Good. That's a start. The problem is that America's minimum wage is pathetic but this is about as far as the president can go on his own and we know how likely it is that he'll get any cooperation from the Republicans. Raising the minimum wage would lift millions out of stark poverty and it's popular with the voters but I doubt that makes a difference to the hard-liners. That's why the minimum wage needs to be tied to inflation, so that it rises automatically.

I'd like Obama to hit climate change hard. I know, I know - weather is boring and the unbelievers will scoff but we have to keep trying. This is the only planet we have and if we screw it up beyond repair, it's light's out for all of us, proponents and skeptics alike.

Of course, the problem is that Congresspeople are no different than every day Americans on social media. They pounce on the posts that support their own world views and close their ears to opposing ideas. And that is what will happen during the State of the Union speech. The Democrats will jump up and cheer and the Republicans, for the most part, will sit prune-faced.

So, I hope the President says that he intends to use executive orders to the fullest extent possible to bring about the changes he thinks America needs. If Congress has become simply a stonewalling roadblock, then the president has a right to try to forge on and accomplish whatever he can without them.

Then we can all sit back and listen to the howls from the right-wing about "constitution-shredding". But constitution-shredding is in the eye of the beholder and I think a lot more constitution-shredding has come from the conservatives than the president. (Nullification of laws they don't like by refusing to enforce them, threats of secession, governing our country by means of crisis management by engaging in government shutdowns, debt ceiling crises, threats of default, downgrading of our credit rating, fiscal cliffs, sequester, record-setting number of filibusters, etc.)

If I have a problem with Obama, it's that he's too nice. He tries to hard to get along. He's not a brawler and I think this class of Republicans called for a brawler. We'll that's simply not his style but I would like to see this speech be a go-to-hell speech. "Just so you know, I'll do everything I can without you...oh, and if you don't approve of my vacations or Michelle's dresses, you can kiss my ass."

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