State of the Union Wishlist

Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

In light of the all the hoopla about President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, I have been thinking of all of the ideas and issues that I would like the President to address in his talk with the country. Since I am a Bears fan and  used to dreaming,  here it goes.

The first issue that I would like to hear President Obama discuss on Tuesday is the Economy.  I don’t mean just “jump starting” the economy. I want to hear about the plans to reach full employment. I am not suggesting that the unemployment rate should be zero, but if we are not shooting for that, how will we get the unemployment rate down to an “acceptable” number? I want the President to tell me that he will be starting government jobs programs to assist cities and states with their infrastructure. I am talking about WPA type programs to give every willing worker a job. Whether it is rebuilding and renovating our National Parks and National Monuments, or helping out in State parks and recreation areas; the result is the same. Having jobs that pay people to actually help our country and get paychecks to people who will spur the economy as a whole.

The next issue that I would like the President to talk about is one that will probably be very contentious. I want him to challenge the Congress, on national TV to reintroduce the Assault Weapons Ban to control some of our deadliest weapons. That would include restricting the size of the magazines or clips that could be used on semi-automatic weapons. I would also want to hear that the gun show loop-hole must be “fixed” and made part of the legislation. This will create a firestorm from the Right and from the Left, but if he really wants to help save lives, this is a good first step.

When I read in the papers and on this blog that the Republicans and some Democrats want to repeal and/or defund “Obama care”, my blood just boils. To that end, President Obama needs to outline every single benefit of the health care reform legislation that will die or not be initiated if the legislation is repealed or starved to death financially. When the public hears what the Insurance industry funded Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats want everyday Americans to lose or do without, Americans everywhere will “inform” the Republicans and the Democrats just what is important to them. Since I am dreaming here, I would also want the President to challenge any legislator who votes to repeal or defund the legislation to give up their government-funded health insurance. If you don’t want Americans to have insurance coverage, you shouldn’t take any coverage from the government.  What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Finally, the President should reaffirm his vow to end any and all torture by our military and intelligence authorities. The President could reignite his base by going one step further to say that he will be instructing Attorney General Holder to investigate any past instances of torture during the Bush Administration including the actors and the officials who authorized it. It will be a bombshell, but justice deserves this kind of bombshell.  If he really has grown a set, he could also mention Pvt. Manning by name and vow to end his solitary confinement and treat him like any other person who has only been charged of a crime.

Now that I have gone out on a limb to give you several of the items on my State of the Union wish list, it is time for you to go out on that limb and tell us what you want the President to discuss on Tuesday evening. It will be interesting to see if the President actually discusses any of our items. This will give us something to talk about after the Bears beat the Packers today!

Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

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