Washington D.C. (ANI): In his final State of the Union address, US President Barack Obama tried to reconcile an optimistic assessment of the nation’s progress amid anxieties that have gripped America during his tenure.
Obama acknowledged that many Americans feel frightened and excluded from a political and economic system they view as rigged against their interests, even as he offered an implicit rebuke of Republicans who are playing on those insecurities in the presidential race, New York Times reported.
“As frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background,” Obama said.
He repeatedly contradicted Republicans’ drab assessments of the state of America with his own upbeat argument.
“I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. It’s not even close,” Obama declared.
Obama, implicitly pointing at Republican front-runner Donald Trump, said that American must resist calls to stigmatize Muslims at a time of threats from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Obama’s speech, unlike his earlier State of the Union addresses, drew more scattered applause.
The president did not present the usual menu of legislative proposals and spoke informally, with occasional flashes of humour.
“Now I’m guessing we won’t agree on health care anytime soon,” he said at one point, as the sound of a single person clapping on the Republican side could be heard in the chamber. Mr. Obama smiled. “A little applause back there,” he said wryly.
His last State of the Union speech was one of the few remaining opportunities to shape the public conversation before the nation’s attention shifts to the campaign to replace him that is already underway.
Obama repeated past calls for legislative action on his domestic initiatives that have fallen short, including raising the minimum wage, amending the nation’s immigration laws and enacting stricter gun restrictions.
He said that ISIS must be dealt with immediately, defending his approach to taking on the terror group and said that it poses a dangerous threat to the nation.
Obama also said the US is exclusively positioned to rally other countries to solve global problems, highlighting his work in forging nuclear deal with Iran, opening a new era of relations with Cuba, pressing for a global accord reached in Paris to combat climate change, and efforts to eradicate Ebola. (ANI)