College Democrats host watch party

UNA students Cameron Kelly-Johnson and Cara Depew watch the State of The Union Address Jan. 24.

The UNA College Democrats club held an open viewing of President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Association address Jan. 24 in the GUC Performance Center.

At the conclusion of Obama’s address, Dr. Alex Aguado from the Department of Political Science spoke and took questions about the speech as well as the history and development of the State of the Union address since its beginning.

The moments leading up to the actual speech included the ceremonial pageantry that Americans have grown accustomed to. The aisle seats filled up first so congressmen could shake hands with the president and cabinet members.

Obama began his address and was interrupted numerous times by standing ovations. After welcoming home the troops that recently returned from Iraq, he suggested that as a nation, citizens could all follow the military’s example and complete the task at hand regardless of society’s differences.

He continued by saying that the issue of the present time is to keep the “American Dream” alive. Not to dwell on the negatives, Obama peppered his address with lines such as, “The American auto industry is back,” and “America is back and those who don’t believe that don’t know what they’re talking about.”

The economy was a popular subject in the president’s address as well. He produced a laundry list of bills aimed at the economy that he was ready to sign right away. Some of these were aimed at the education system and helping students finish their educations without huge debts. In July, reports said student loan debt interest will double unless the president and congress can agree on a bill to stop it. Obama also put universities on notice, saying that if they cannot stop tuition from increasing, federal funding will go down.

A member of the College Republicans, Daniel McGuire watched the president’s address as well. He said the main thing that stuck out to him was a common thread in Obama’s speeches.

“I agreed with Obama’s points about tax rates, corporate taxes and insider trading, but he usually fails to give any specific goals for reaching those solutions,” he said.

On the political science side of things, Aguado mentioned that though this annual speech has grown into a media event over the years, the viewership has grown and then dwindled. He assigned this to the fact that there are many more channels on television today as well as other entertainment options.

Aguado also pointed out that the majority of those who watch the speech already have their minds made up either in support of or against the policies of the President. He also said ideally, the State of the address should articulate the President’s goals, recite his accomplishments, present his agenda and mobilize his support.