The State of the Union speech for 2015 was honestly incredible. From Obamas taunting of the Republicans, to Obamas “Middle-Class economics” this State of the Union is in some ways a throwback to the Obama that people believed they were voting in, both elections. But the most shocking thing about the State of the Union was the inclusion.
For the first time in history “Lesbian” “Bisexual” “Transgender” were directly included in the State of the Union address. This is just a moment which should make people happy, but the truth is that this isn’t some “shocking” event. Protections for the LGTBQ community have been a part of the political plan of Democrats for the past few years. Take for instance the law in California signed by Governor Jerry Brown “School Success and Opportunity” act which was designed to mentor and monitor California schools so that they provide ample opportunities for Transgendered students to graduate successfully and protects the students. This is also following the fact that in the past few years more and more states have made it legal for same sex couples to get married, with the grand total currently at: 35 states where it is legal.
However this also comes at a moment in history where the LGTBQ community is in mourning. Leelah Alcorn committed suicide December 28th 2014. She has been deeply missed by LGBTQ community and her death has begun a conversation concerning conversion therapy a practiced which has been shown to be very largely ineffective and outright dangerous.
Obama’s inclusion of the LGTBQ community was a shrewd move.
“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims – the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.”
It was a divisive tactic. One based on intelligence and a desire to separate the Republicans from the Democrats. A tactic designed to show that he and his party were and are the party that supports the American people. Obamas move was designed to include largely marginalized communities, communities which support his party, and make them distinct from the Republicans, which do not support or understand the average American much less the marginalized individuals Obama has effectively reaffirmed his commitment to. Obamas commitment to the marginalized Americans has been seen through this moment in his speech. And though I remain skeptical of his plans to be more inclusive of marginalized individuals and to see him “condemn” the prosecutors, I was quite impressed with the way that the State of the Union was handled. I look forward to see more of this Obama, the brave, confident, principled individual who the American people voted into office.
It is time that Obama make good on improving the State of the Union. Despite the Republican majority in Congress, I have no doubt that the American people are with Obama. Let us wait and see what he does, now that he has the attention of the people.