Story by Nathan Erickson
Last Tuesday evening, Americans tuned in to their television, radios and computers to watch President Barack Obama deliver the annual State of the Union address.
This tradition originates in the Constitution, from a line stating, “He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union.”
It may surprise you that the address is not required to be performed annually. Woodrow Wilson, however, revived this practice in 1913 and it has stuck ever since.
In his address, Obama spoke of creating jobs, increasing the minimum wage and renewing America’s commitment to domestic energy.
He also spoke of the need for Congress to help him in these tasks, or he would go it alone, “with or without” them.
He recognized many individuals as well, from a light-hearted reference at Speaker Boehner’s upbringing to John Sorrano, owner of the popular Minnesota franchise Punch Pizza.
Kelly Tafoya, a junior politics and public relations double major, said she felt the speech was appropriate for a second-term president.
“I felt like I was finally hearing from a second-term president that just wanted to get some items off his agenda,” Tafoya said. “I think he delivered his speech incredibly well as he always does and was pleased to see some vintage Obama shine through from his first year as president.”
Taylor Larson, a junior public relations major, also felt Obama struck a strong tone in his speech.
“One of the most important things in the speech was Obama’s theoretical middle finger to Congress,” Larson said. “‘Get behind me or get out of my way,’ is a big statement to make, and I hope he follows through.”
While Michael Robbins, a junior finance and international business double major, was pleased with the address, he did have some criticism.
“I thought he was pretty vague on specifics but heavy on rhetoric. I wished he had addressed more on income equality,” Robbins said.
On Twitter, some Drake students and alumni complained of #SOTU hangovers, while others just wished “#SOTU” would go away forever.
Still others voiced confusion over the issues currently facing Americans from those of the popular political television series “The West Wing.”
“I think it’s incredibly important for college students to pay attention to the SOTU,” said Morgan Dezenski, a sophomore public relations and marketing major. “The laws and plans that will be implemented in our future sometimes start because of talk from the SOTU.”
Larson had similar sentiments to share.
“I think it’s important for every American to understand what’s going on in our country, whether or not they like who’s in charge,” Larson said.