State of the Union: Rise Against Interpretation

Following the context and tone of the previous blog on Capitalism, this blog pursues a more cynical outlook on the State of the Union address delivered by President Obama on 24th January, 2012.

Many readers have undoubtedly heard of the band known as Rise Against, becoming rather popular for songs such as “Ready to Fall” and “Re-Education Through Labor“.  So saying, much of the bands lyrics are targeted at the US government, environmental crisis, materialistic corruption and capitalism.  One such song, is known as “State of the Union“.  The endeavor of this blog is to interpret and fact-check the 2012 State of the Union address, pursuing a similar tone and cynicism expressed by Rise Against and, as said before, the blog on Capitalism.  In truth, the 2012 address was well written and delivered in a heartwarming, reassuring and charismatic speech.

“If we’re the flagship of peace and prosperity, we’re taking on water and about to fuckin’ sink.  No one seems to notice, no one even blinks.  The crew all left the passengers to die under the sea.” – State of the Union by Rise Against

As most State of the Union addresses, the text has been carefully detailed and though through by multiple secretaries behind multiple desks, ensuring that the current President will not embarrass himself, though this attempt seemed to have been forgotten in Bush’s “sixteen little words” on Iraq pursuing uranium in Niger.  That being said, this year’s address launched Obama’s his re-election year; putting further pressure on the tone, policies and charisma, as it needed to connected with Obama’s winning coalition.  This pursuit for Selectorate appeasement, manipulating public opinion through optimistic dialogue, is the purpose of political ambition theory.  Many, if not all, of the President’s decisions are based on public opinion, which has been rather volatile as of late due to political dysfunction and fiscal ineptitude.  For these reasons, President Obama pursued a speech to which the Selectorate could not easily find fault in; as he targeted his opposition, spoke of his administrative success, spoke of future job creation, new regulative punishment for corporations already hated by the populace and a revivification of the education system which has been neglected for too long.  Nevertheless, the general optimism and appeasing tone of his speech is evidence enough of his attempt to gild the problems and corrosion of America and its political infrastructure.

“Countdown to the very end.  Equality, an invitation that we won’t extend.  Ready aim, pull the trigger now.  In Time you firmly secure your place in hell.” State of the Union by Rise Against

The beginning of Obama’s address praises the US military, something the institution has had long in the coming.  Nonetheless, the Obama’s statement is comically reminiscent of the premature stating of ‘Mission Accomplished’ by Bush, as the supposed successful implementation of democracy in Iraq has been far from that.  Since the US departure, Iraq has descended into violence as the religious rift of its society threatens to engulf the sacrifices and efforts of the American military.  The government of Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki has targeted Sunni opposition figure, even arresting the Sunni political figure that was to be his political partner in the coalition government.  So saying, the sectarian violence seem to undermine the exhilaration of Obama’s pronounced achievement.  Moreover, the Taliban has not been broken, as Obama claimed; rather, the war in Afghanistan is mired in stalemate because of Taliban fighter operating from neighboring Pakistan.

“State of the Union address, reads war-torn country still a mess.  The words: power, death, and distorted truth are read between the lines of the red, white and blue” – State of the Union by Rise Against

Furthermore, Obama does attempt to endear himself by speaking of job creation during the last 22 months.  Most of the job-creation claims are rather debatable, given how every President is at the mercy of the business cycle.  As Obama noted, 4 million jobs were lost at the start of his administration but stating that another 4 million were lost before his policies were in full effect is a stretch.  This is because it took a full 9 months to run up 4 million in job losses, some 8 months after the stimulus was passed into law, and 4 months after many claimed that the recession had ended.  Any who claim that the recession has ended need only take a look at the growing state of disparity and depravity in the nation to understand that the recession has always been here, only some are able to ignore it with their Ferrari and private jet planes.

“Guilty is what our graves will read, no years, no family.  We did nothing to stop the murder of a people just like us” – State of the Union by Rise Against

Among Obama’s statements is the claim that American influence and foreign ties are stronger than ever, suggesting that the world is eager to work with the American people.  Obama’s statement does not include any cities in the Islamist world.  The Pew Research said in May that both the US favorability rating and confidence in Obama had fallen sharply since 2009.  In Turkey, a NATO ally, the confidence in Obama fell from 33% in 2009 to 11% in 2011.  In Jordan, another key ally, the favorability rating for the US fell from 25% in 2009 to 13% in 2011. So saying, US foreign policy has been rather successful in the aspect that Libya was able to usurp Qadhafi, Bin Laden is dead, and both Iran and Syria are facing more sanctions on a daily basis.  Nevertheless, the American people have become selfish and conniving, criticizing any humanitarian efforts that the democratic President aspires to take.  With millions starving around the world, with the Islamic people facing tanks and snipers for their attempts at democratization, the American people only concern themselves with materialism, a pursuit for immediate gratification, which can be blamed for the majority of the country’s problems.


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