This was originally published on joenavarro.weebly.com, reflecting on President Obama’s Last State of the Union Address on January 12, 2016.
President Obama gave an optimistic speech using his prolific oratory style. He addressed a wide range of issues, attempting to direct his message to various sectors of American society. Throughout his speech it was obvious that he had tailored it to a conservative audience, making a point to appear as the great unifier, agreeing to disagree, but not too much. Also making it clear (in Obama’s opinion) that politics in America would be better if there was not so much polarization. He was referring to the hostile political climate in Washington DC between Democrats and Republicans. It was as though he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, where liberals and conservatives could get along in spite of their politics.
During his speech we saw Obama the liberal and Obama the imperialist. The language swayed back and forth between civil rights and the toughness of America and its military might. He follows a liberal tradition similar to presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, where they were considered champions of civil and democratic rights in the U.S. and pro-working class. On the other hand Franklin was an imperialist, supporting Latin American dictatorships and the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps. Kennedy attacked Cuba, supported the Bay of Pigs attack, and sent military personnel to Southeast Asia, engaging in an unpopular imperialist war, which polarized people in the U.S., being either pro or anti-war.Download this piece as a PDF