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Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address

An address that was presented by President Obama on January 27, 2010, to a joint session of Congress.

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President Obama: Leader With A Moral Compass

  • Jan 28, 2010
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I personally don't believe there's such a thing as 'clean coal'. Nor do I believe there is such a thing as 'safe nuclear energy'.

Nevertheless, I want to know how we would recognize in real-time a President who would become beloved of the People; a President who would go down in history as a 'Great Man'. 

One man; Commander in Chief, and public servant to 300 million people who together, make up what we call the United States of America (funny how 'united' can so easily be mis-typed as 'untied'...., like sacred comes out  scrambled as 'scared'....). Hmmm.

So Mr President gets to frame the State of the Union.

I write now because I had a visceral response to Obama's delivery that was starkly juxtaposed with the last State of the Union Address that impacted me. Back in the day, we tuned into Bush Jr. giving his State of the Union soliloquy and I couldn't stay. I had forgotten until last night, that I had left the house in the middle of Bush's Address, and gone out to the wild beach I reserve for big emotions. I literally felt sick to my stomach.

Now, this evening, I could feel a tangible realm shift.

I have a dear colleague I hold in high regard. He has three times had occasion to interface one-on-one with Obama in this Presidency.  Actually he has been challenging  Obama, among other things, in his position on nuclear energy. He made a comment on Obama that has stayed with me. "The guy has a moral compass," he said, ("and I swear he never forgets a conversation!").

So, as with Obama's Nobel Address, I felt mostly like I was watching, alert; studying him; wanting to discern what he's about and where he is coming from.  As far as I can tell, no political Leader, while actually in office, has ever come up to par, and I am wanting to know if there is a way to draw from present-time, that this is as bright a character as we could Hope to have in Office at this point in our history.

When the Scottish Parliament reconvened in 1999 after a gap of almost 300 years; 

'The Scottish parliament, adjourned on 25th March 1707, is hereby reconvened..'

we had a hefty dose of skepticism that it would be business as usual despite the fanfare. Then we were caught by surprise to find ourselves deeply moved as the seat of power was restored to the Scottish People, and moved too when Queen Elizabeth II formally acknowledged the Scottish People were sovereign unto themselves, even as she asserted her Sovereignty!

The New Scottish Parliament was built in the Round, at the foot of Arthur's Seat, and we felt the moment as epochal after all: 

"On the Mound yesterday something new did happen, just for once, without self-consciousness, from beneath the weight of history, with a sense of honest purpose. This process will take us only where we want to go. Just for once, we cannot say that we have seen it all before. Yesterday, for a moment, Edinburgh was the only place in the world to be..."

 The following year, when we were in Edinburgh, we were excited to be carving out time to sit in on the Scottish Parliament in Session. 

The scene, to our dismay, was abysmal and, indeed, had all the same dreadful elements that have held sway for centuries in the London Parliament. Those self-same elements in Congress, that Obama was speaking to last night.

What we sat through in Edinburgh was the antithesis of what Jim Wallace had put forth at the Opening Ceremonies of the Scottish Parliament: "Our Parliament must be open and inclusive, willing to consult and willing to listen. It must recognise and celebrate Scotland's rich diversity: islands, highlands and lowlands, urban and rural, people, young and old, from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds."

On the day we sat in at Holyrood, the Session was poorly attended and those who were presentwere not. 

Casting back to that day I can feel it ; viscerally again, and can convey that feeling by saying the Parliamentarians who were in attendance of a colleague presenting a bill were variously nail-filing, reading the paper, jeering loudly, and having full in-depth conversations that could not possibly allow for any genuine listening.

When we finally walked out of the Chambers we did the only thing we could think to do to feel better quick; climbed to the top of Arthur's Seat to blast out the horror of what we had just witnessed. We did feel sick. That was my only time, but my sister, who was a student there, went several times and found it the same each time. 

I am convinced that we are dealing with the 'weight of history', and the legacy of an aristocracy which was synonymous with Nation State politics & posturing. The terms of engagement, in Parliament and in the Senate, remind me of characters in old London's PUNCHmagazine, and seem to differ little today from the Parliamentary scene depicted in the latest Young Victoria movie.

So, I for one am relieved to hear Obama address this sorry trait in a still fledgling Democracy. I am sure the fundamental flaw was transported lock, stock & barrel, across the ocean, and if this character who now struts his hour upon our stage is truly intent upon Changing Normal....  I want to be wise to that Now, not later.

President Obama: Leader With A Moral Compass President Obama: Leader With A Moral Compass President Obama: Leader With A Moral Compass

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January 29, 2010
Thanks, Corinna for the historical perspective. Historical perspectives can harken back even further 5000 years or more to nomadic tribes conquering, invading and infiltrating agricultural communities eventually changing values from communal to domination (Pharaoh's, kings, CEO's). For more perspective on this read Riane Eisler's "Chalise and the Blade". My point is that humanity is on the cusp of a major culture shift, a transition from domination to partnering and equanimity. I think Obama's values are in alignment with the new paradigm of equanimity. The question is; how do we get there from here? We can see how easy (not) it is for us to change habits and ways of thinking individually. And we're talking about people who are fearful of change, lack of security and are frustrated and angry. The changes we want are a shift in trajectory and we want that shift to stick and become a new cooperative way of being together.. There a leadership theory that to be effective you need to pace and then lead. In other words a leader gets into rhythm or rapport with where people are to gain trust and then lead them in the new direction. I trust Obama's heart, his intelligence, his humility and his strategy. And, his ability to tell the truth and course correct. I love when he leads out loud. I want to hear from him more. It is also true that on the less visible levels of appointees he has some very progressive, intelligent people and policies. His people are working on creating infrastructure for more transparency and citizen engagement. We have to find ways of living and working in the new paradigm; to be kinder, gentler, more open to each other-including all the frogs in the pond. Not easy, but hey, it's worth it.
January 29, 2010
Thanx Hinabear, This gave me chills. Especially you saying you love "his ability to tell the truth and course correct. I love when he leads out loud. I want to hear from him more.." Yes, I want to hear more from him, and I do also love hearing what Michelle is up to as well (YouTube's good for that!)
January 30, 2010
Oh yes, and Chalice & The Blade is categorically counted amongst the books that got ME Here :)!
January 28, 2010
Incredibly well said. I didn't see the speech. I'll be hunting it down on the internet later today. I have little hope for his ability to accomplish anything in the remainder of his term for 2 reasons. The first is that most presidents accomplish whatever their going to do within the first year. The second is that there will never be any bipartisanship. The Republicans (especially those represented by Fox and the dreaded Glenn Beck) are too devoted to seeing him fail not realizing that it means that they will fail with him. They want to "reclaim" their country, and I don't think it's just from the Nazi, Communist, Progressive, gay atheists. Sadly, I think it's deeper and uglier that that.
January 28, 2010
Except for not knocking a few Republican heads together in order to get them to see that he's not going to let them push him around anymore, he hasn't made that many serious errors because they haven't let him do anything yet.
January 28, 2010
The speech is in the wiki to the right now, you can watch it full screen ;) I've yet to watch the whole thing, too, just saw excerpts, so I'll be checking it out later when I have the time!
January 28, 2010
More Obama's 2010 State of the Unio... reviews
review by . January 28, 2010
I see what he is saying but I am hundreds of miles from home because his philosophy of gov't tanked my job at home.    Helping small business is great, I ran one for 10 years but without manufacturing or something to market we might as well be a 3rd world country. We are a nation of consumers. We built that habit of consuming because of the manufacturing boom after WWII. It's real hard to be a consumer if you have no job. I have watched furniture factories, garment factories, paper …
review by . January 28, 2010
   I don't know if it is the current situation in my personal life, my current age or my ever growing concern for this country as well as the rest of the world, that has made me pay more attention to political matters than ever before. Like many, I listened to President Obama's State of the Union address on January 27, 2010 and thought I would express some opinions here.The speech was very well written although I have always wondered how much of any presidential …
review by . January 29, 2010
Tony Blair Mark 2
Interestingly enough, this same scenario unfolded in the UK in the early 1990s - the incumbent conservatives, which had become stale and unpopular were ousted by a young, charismatic liberal with ideas to change the fabric of society. If I were a cynical man, I might even think the Democrats' play book was lifted directly from Tony Blair's highly-orchestrated designs with 'New Labor". It too trundled along for a couple of terms before the public then realized that the only changes were higher …
Quick Tip by . January 28, 2010
great speech, but it left me feeling pretty luke warm about out future.
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Corrina McFarlane ()
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The 2010 State of the Union Address was given by United States President Barack Obama on January 27, 2010, to a joint session of Congress. It was aired on all the major networks starting at 9 PM ET. It was Obama's first State of the Union Address, though the president did give a non-State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress a month after taking office in 2009.

The speech was delivered on the floor of the United States House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. The presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Vice President Joe Biden (as Senate President) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat behind the president.

Among the topics that Obama covered in his speech were proposals for job creation and federal deficit reduction.

Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan was chosen as the designated survivor and did not attend the address, in order to keep a presidential line of succession should a catastrophic event have wiped out the administration.

Newly elected Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell delivered the Republican response following the speech.
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