the President of the United
States give a State of the Union address
is often like watching a peacock strut. Its
head projecting forward with each step, and its splayed
feathers saying “Look at me. I’m tall. I’m beautiful. I
have it all. I did it all.” The President usually lists
an embellished log of accomplishments and forecasts a list
of unreasonable - if not unachievable - expectations. Then
Congress comes back and peacocks what it has done. The President
and Congress, like the peacock, claims it can do everything
- but fly. In fact, the peacock struts because it can’t
fly. Well, this week, the President flew as Congress attempted
to strut. President Barack Obama laid out the reality of
our nation, his accomplishments despite obstruction, in
front of Congress and the nation. He did it in real time,
in virtual reality, in jaw-dropping fashion.
2012 State of the Union offered a vast contrast to the picture of the nation the Republican
candidates running in the GOP primaries have painted. The
President offered a different picture of the nation’s political
and social realities than the Congress has held up. The
American people don’t know what to think about the state
of its nation and the mental state of its leaders because
they get a different spin from all directions. Nothing is
good enough. Nothing is right. The other party is always
wrong. Reality is never real. And as the nation witnessed
in 2011, the Congress is delusional.
the week…the nation got a true dose of reality. Now, I’m
not saying that I agreed with everything the President
laid out…particularly about the Iran
piece. I believe he’s being walked into a trap on that tip…but
I do believe he is trying to construct a virtual reality
for the type of government we currently have and the limitations
its poses when you have ideologues and millionaires running
the government who have distorted realities about the socio-economic
conditions in which most people live in our nation.
President held up a mirror to Congress this week. Hopefully
it was as ugly to them as it has been to the rest of us.
Congress has painted itself into a corner, largely because
the ideologues don’t understand the role of government beyond
self-interested motives and rhetorical retraction.
retraction simply means they think they have to move backwards
to take the nation forward. We know its empty rhetoric.
They know its empty rhetoric and the President showed it
was empty rhetoric.
politics of political gamesman was really the subject of
the State of the Union. That is
the state of the union, virtually. In a very literal
sense, the President laid out what has been, what is, and
what could have been had Congress not played with the lives
of the American people.
asked Congress what reality are they looking at - what reality
do they really see? Is it the same one as the American people,
or is it a contrived reality for the privileged and the
socially impolitic. Both, of course, represent what the
GOP is presenting as their best options to Obama in Romney
and Gingrich. The
President called for Congress to be fair to the American
people. The GOP wants to just be fair to the rich. What
they are calling “class warfare,” as the President noted,
the rest of the nation calls “common sense.”
most us, common sense is virtual reality, what is in the
here and now…not a contrived one. What Americans need, here
and now, is a more responsive government to address problems
specific to the needs of its citizens. Hopefully,
the nation heard the President and will return to its virtual
senses and a common reality of what’s best for all of us.
Not just a few of us.
Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, is a national columnist, managing
director of the
Urban Issues Forum
and author of
Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is AnthonySamad.com. Twitter @dranthonysamad. Click
to contact Dr. Samad.