The last time President Obama was in the House chamber, he was fighting for his American Jobs Act. It was the official start of Obama 2.0, a more focused and sharp-tongued chief executive who was ready to use the power at his disposal to do what Congress wouldn’t. Tonight’s State of the Union address showed a president comfortable with power and unafraid to use it to do what he thinks is right.
I will leave the dissection of the policy details to those nerdier than I for now. Yes, I’m talking to you, E.J. And I’ll come back to other thoughts on the speech later, after I’ve had time to actually think. But there is no question that the most powerful moment in a powerful speech came at the end, when the man who burst onto the national scene by tapping into our longing for getting beyond the divisions between a Red America and a Blue America revived that within-arms-reach ideal.
Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard.
In this election year, it might be too much to hope that the spirit Obama invoked in the House chamber tonight will stay. But the nation depends on it happening. The 535 members of the House and Senate were sent to Washington to get things done on the voters’ behalf. It’s about time they got to work.