Did Obama answer the nation's calls for progress?
Last night, President Obama laid out his agenda for his second term. The State of the Union speech set some ambitious goals to get our nation back on a progressive course. The list included executive action on climate change, a “Fix-it-First” program to invest in infrastructure and job creation, and a legal pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United State.
The President also called for making high-quality early education available to all children, called on Congress to bring gun legislation to a vote, and announced we're finally getting our troops our of a seemingly endless war. But, perhaps the biggest news of the evening was Obama's call for an increase in the federal minimum wage. He surprised everyone during the speech by saying, “Tonight, lets declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour.”
However, despite Obama's calls to get our nation back on track, the Republicans were apparently not impressed with the speech. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell said, “I think what most Americans wanted to hear tonight was the President's plan to get government spending under control, rein in the debt, and put the private economy back on a path to real growth and serious job creation.”
It's not surprising that members of this party also refused to stand and show support for equal pay for women, protecting our democratic process, or streamlining the legal immigration system. In 2012, Americans spoke loudly and clearly about what vision they want for our country. Perhaps it'll take a few more elections for the Republicans to finally hear the nation's calls for progress.