SOTU Recap: Obama, GOP, Immigration, Africa #WorldWednesday

Photo courtesy Associated Press

SOTU Recap: Obama, GOP, Immigration, Africa – #WorldWednesday

So if you watched the State of the Union last night, then you know there’s a great deal to process (I mean it is SOTU). I’ll spare you all, and myself, with an extensive and essay-like recap. Instead, here’s a write-up on the key elements that stood out and will be priority in 2014.

Obama – Overall, SOTU delivered what I expected from it. Obama is in current recovery mode from a rough 2013. This address reflected a President in need and search of a reboot button, ironically like the Obamacare website launch–too soon?? Branding 2014 as a “Year of Action“, the White House outlined measures that were both safe and forward leaning. Top of the agenda were; equal pay and opportunity for women in the workforce, raising the minimum wage for all federal contractors to $10.10, fuel and natural gas initiatives, immigration reform (highlighted below), and delivering quality early education for every child, just to name a few. After 5 years in the Oval, President Obama showed us he still had the signature Barry-O charm, but finally with a sober dose of  practicality. The only question is, will his collaborative efforts be welcomed or considered too late by his congressional counterparts?

GOP – Republicans are in a unique and potentially redeemable position this year. Despite how many seats are won, lost, or kept during midterm elections in November, the opportunity to move the party forward as both a sensible and more responsible manager of government, could very much be done. Now I’m not saying just because Barry-O  has had a rough 2013, the GOP will come in and sweep back popular vote. The fact that the party has gotten a lot of bad rep for being disruptors of anything Obama (moderately good or not), and radical Tea drinkers or partiers (who knows), hasn’t been the most positive thing for the cause. This year can be an opportunity for the GOP to come out front with a united message, and begin playing an active and constructive role as the nation watches and votes. Besides, Bohenor got a pretty strong SOTU shoutout:  

Immigration – POTUS urged Congress to make immigration reform happen this year. Though very divisive in how it is to be done, immigration is an area where both parties will be taking the gloves off. The amount of political capital that can be lost or gained, from being on the winning side of history, could push this debate beyond post-midterm elections. It would be in the best interest of Democrats to hurry this through now and force a debate, but if done with haste it surely could backfire. The GOP has a great deal riding on Immigration reform, how they go about it will determine if the party will remain a relevant force in modern national politics. As many have told me — just don’t f*ck it up!

Africa – President Obama initiated the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge in 2013, which aims to make energy more accessible in Africa. The goal is to bring together businesses and governments to double access to electricity, in hopes of reducing extreme poverty throughout the continent. As you could imagine, energy provides electricity which contributes greatly to improved quality of living, education, health and many more potentials for poor countries.This is an area where I always find a renewed sense of purpose and promise in furthering America’s role in the African development story. Expanding and moving this forward, could very much mean helping to build the capacities of future trade and political partners in Africa. 

The Jump

Gun laws, marijuana,  and youth unemployment were amongst a few things left out of the address. This most likely, was the best move for a White House threading lightly after a rough year. 2014 is honestly the perfect year to legitimately move forward some keystone (no pun) bipartisan legislation i.e Immigration, Early Childhood. Then again if history (or House of Cards) has taught us anything, it’s all war and more gridlock in election year politics.

Though the state of our union remains far from perfect, President Obama’s conciliatory tone and mention of Army Ranger Corey Remsburg reminded us of why we’re proud to be Americans. Yes disagreements come up, we campaign against one another, fight for political survival , but at the end  — we do it for America. Despite what is said, I believe many of us still have that fire, that burning passion that tells us we live in an exceptional country with an incredible mission to the world. United as one…I’m all in for America.

Question is, how will you contribute to the discussion? Share your thoughts and insights on #SOTU with us below.

Photo courtesy Associated Press
Photo courtesy Associated Press
Happy Wednesday! -MK
About the Author
Mariel Kanene is Founder and Editor of and lead storyteller with a focus on music, startups and travel. His passion for storytelling was born in Kinshasa, Congo and bred in Washington, DC where he resides. By day, Mariel spends his days slowly trying to change the world—one meaningful interaction at a time. He loves reading factual-fiction, good podcasts, traveling, health and fitness, foreign languages and good conversations over good coffee and even better rum. He hates talking about himself in third person.Thanks for stopping by. Always appreciated. Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin | Website.

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