The State of the Union From the Perspective of a College Student
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The State of the Union From the Perspective of a College Student

"Now is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time. And we will, as one people. One America. The United States of America."

The State of the Union From the Perspective of a College Student

Since the start of the pandemic, I've taken a break from writing. I lost motivation to do so during a time where being told to stay inside was the best thing to do. Here we are, two years later and I still feel that way. Here's a recap of the things that have happened since my last article.

- I ended my sophomore year of college at the start of a pandemic and started now I am a senior...pandemic's still here.

- Election fraud was brought up again in the 2020 Presidential Election.

- An attempted coup happened to keep from certifying election results.

- The Vice President of the United States of America is also the first woman of color to hold that office.

- Euphoria is apparently a really good show.

- Game of Thrones is actually amazing (yes, I'm finally watching it years later).

- I became an ambassador for The Borgen Project; we are fighting to urge our Congressional leaders to pass legislation that will end global poverty and support other pieces of reform needed for America's prosperity.

Fast forward to March 1, 2022. President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union Address. This was my first State of the Union that I have ever watched. I wasn't told to watch because of my major, for any of my classes, or for extra credit. I watched the SOTU on my own account because I wanted to hear what the President had to say. Curiosity got the best of me, but President Biden had some great points.

"Tonight, we meet as Democrats Republicans and Independents. But most importantly as Americans."

This was part of the President's opening line. He started off strong in reminding everyone that we are all the same America, regardless of our political affiliation. We all should hope to aim for America's prosperity.

"From President Zelenskyy to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, inspires the world."

Given today's society and social climate, we have turned to social media for news and comfort wrapped in one. On TikTok, there is no short supply of videos showing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy standing tall with his country. His courage and that of other Ukrainians has not and will not go unnoticed.

"Along with twenty-seven members of the European Union including France, Germany, Italy, as well as countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and many others, even Switzerland."

Switzerland is known to remain neutral in conflicts, but the fact that the Swiss government has stated their support for Ukraine is a big deal. Historians everywhere are making note of this historic moment.

"Let me be clear, our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine."

The main trending headlines on social media were "World War 3." This is because several people, whether misinformed or making assumptions, automatically began to think of the draft and a world war breaking out. This could not be furthest from the truth because of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is a political and military alliance. Ukraine is not a NATO country (but they want to be) and Russia is. Because Russia is part of NATO and Ukraine is not, America cannot intervene. Hearing the President say that he is not sending our troops into war eased minds nationwide.

"Invest in America. Educate Americans. Grow the workforce. Build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down...America used to have the best roads, bridges, and airports on Earth. Now our infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world."

By 1910, America was producing more than 24 million tons, greater than any country. I've heard "America needs to be owned by Americans again" more times than I'd like to admit. We lead the steel industry and now we rank number 38 in steel manufacturing, as of 2020. Hopefully, the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will not only help America rebuild its roads, bridges, and airports; but also put people in the workplace and create more jobs.

"When we use taxpayer dollars to rebuild America – we are going to Buy American: buy American products to support American jobs."

I spoke too soon. The President agrees that America needs to be owned by Americans again.

"I have a better plan to fight inflation. Lower your costs, not your wages. Make more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America. And instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let’s make it in America. Economists call it “increasing the productive capacity of our economy.” I call it building a better America."

Everything pointed out here is easier said than done. To have more semiconductors for cars and more things that are in demand by Americans, we need jobs. We also need companies to stop expecting recent college graduates to have years of experience when we can bring innovation and fresh ideas to the workplace. College students need the room to grow and be able to make change happen, just like companies seek to improve every day and cater to the needs of others.

"First – cut the cost of prescription drugs."

In 2020, the average drug costs are about $1,200 per person per year. That's more than any other country in the world. America's healthcare system needs to be fixed and that is a conversation for a different day.

"Second - cut energy costs for families an average of $500 a year by combating climate change."

Should the American government provide investments and tax credits to weatherize homes and businesses to be energy efficient and Americans get a tax credit, I think this will be a step in the right direction to get rid of the pollution in the air.

"Third – cut the cost of child care."

Some parents struggle to find babysitters for their children, especially fast-food workers, grocery store associates, and most of all, single parents! Child care should not cost thousands of dollars. Our children are our future, so I believe that if we have more daycares that are equipped to handle our kids, our education boost nationwide.

"We’re going after the criminals who stole billions in relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans."

Thousands of Americans were laid off in the aftermath of the pandemic. Some businesses could not keep their staff, but those that did have the capacity chose to let good, hardworking Americans go so they {business owners} can keep the money they received from the federal government that was meant to pay workers. Having a department investigate pandemic fraud is huge and I expect the consequences of those who committed pandemic fraud to be severe.

"Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour...Let’s increase Pell Grants and increase our historic support of HBCUs..."

Now, don't fight me, but throwing in the HBCU card was pretty low. It insinuates, to me, that he had to mention HBCUs to keep the Black community on his side. Mr. President, we will remain behind you so long as you keep your promises. There's no need to throw Black history around. I do, however, fully agree with raising the minimum wage. I have met too many waitresses who are mothers and they live off of $2 an hour; I'm a former waitress and while I have no children, I still struggled to pay my own bills.

"We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to FUND the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities."

I agree that by having more resources that properly train our law enforcement to handle situations and how to properly engage with others is important. Direct the funds to a new department within the police stations.

"Tonight. I call on the Senate to: Pass the Freedom to Vote Act. Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. And while you’re at it, pass the Disclose Act so Americans can know who is funding our elections."

Why do African Americans still struggle to prove that we have the right to vote every few years? Pass permanent legislation and (this may be me being too hasty) make that an amendment to the Constitution so the Black Vote can never be questioned again. My people built America and we are still suffering centuries later; the least that can be done is to ensure we will forever have the right to vote for who represents us. Nobody knows us better than we do.

"Now is the hour. Our moment of responsibility. Our test of resolve and conscience, of history itself. It is in this moment that our character is formed. Our purpose is found. Our future is forged."

As an Political Science student with a focus in American Politics, this SOTU was crucial for me to watch and I'm glad that I did. It allowed me the chance to bear witness to a bipartisan Congressional applause that had news anchors shocked.

There is hope yet for America.

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