I’ve assigned the viewing of tonight’s State of the Union address to my speech classes. That means that I’d better not only watch myself, but consider in advance what I expect President Obama to say in his first State of the Union address, and how I expect him to say it.
I think he will tell us, without buttering it up, the state of the union. I do not think he will be able to declare that “the state of the union is strong” as so many past presidents have done. I do think he will remind us that he inherited a mess and that he is trying to make it better. I think he may even use a little humor to tell us that while two wars, a struggling economy and working through health care reform is no picnic, there are some reasons to smile. I think the charismatic candidate we saw on the campaign trail will be recognizable again.
I also think that President Obama will ask us to do our part. With the amazing-looking iPad launched today, (my husband asked if I mind if he sells the Kindle I bought him) America is feeling inventive again. I think he will tap into that Steve Jobs genius and encourage us to be the next Steve Jobs. Or raise him.
Nichola D. Gutgold is associate professor of communication arts and science at Penn State Lehigh Valley and author of several books including Almost Madam President: Why Hillary Clinton ‘won’ in 2008 (Lexington Books, 2009).