Last night was President Obama’s annual State of the Union address, and though it was his eighth and final one, he laid out ambitious plans for his last year in office, reports USA TODAY.
“I don’t want to talk just about the next year,” he said. “I want to focus on the next five years, 10 years and beyond.”
Speaking on topics like education, national security and the economy, President Obama laid our four key goals for the coming year.
This year, President Obama focused heavily on the education aspect of rebuilding the economy. He chided the high costs of college tuition and advocated for a nationwide policy of two free years of community college.
“The bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an important start, and together, we’ve increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering,” he said. “In the comign years, we should build on that progress by providing pre-through-K for all, offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one, and we should recruit and support more great teachers for our kids.”
Though the country continues to faces terrorism threats from groups like ISIS, President Obama said that our armed forced are fighting tirelessly—and succeeding.
“For more than a year, America has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut of ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters and stamp out their vicious ideology,” he said.
He vowed to continue fighting, with our without the help of other nations, calling the terrorists “killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down and destroyed.”
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Science and Climate Change
The role of science and technology played a prevalent role during last night’s address. Pointing to advances like NASA, President Obama said that the country has assumed a renewed role in eradicating cancer once and for all.
“For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all,” he said, adding that Vice-President Joe Biden, who lost a son to cancer last year, would be heading the effort.
Additionally, he spoke on the international push to end climate change. He said that global warming was a proven phenomenon and he wants to continue to develop alternative energy sources.
“Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it,” President Obama said. “You’ll be pretty lonely because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”
The State of American Politics
President Obama admitted that he regretted the bipartisan stake that seems to have appeared since taking office. He took covert swings at Republican presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, saying that a ban on Muslims is not what America represents. However, he did urge both Democrats and Republicans to come together and repair fraught relations.
“Democracy brings to a half without a willingness to compromise, or when even basic facts are contested, and we listen only to those who agree with us,” he said. “Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get attention. Most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter.”