B1 Intermediate US 5508 Folder Collection
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House Speaker John Boehner: Members of Congress,
I have the high privilege and distinct honor
of presenting to you the
President of the United States.
The President: Thank you.
Thank you so much.
The President: Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress,
my fellow Americans:
We are 15 years into this new century.
Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching
our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting
two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious
recession spread across our nation and the world.
It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.
But tonight, we turn the page.
Tonight, after a breakthrough year
for America, our economy is growing and creating
jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.
Our unemployment rate is now
lower than it was before the financial crisis.
More of our kids are graduating
than ever before.
More of our people are insured than ever before.
And we are as free from the grip
of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years.
Tonight, for the first time since 9/11,
our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.
Six years ago, nearly 180,000
American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today, fewer than 15,000 remain.
And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man
and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has
served to keep us safe.
We are humbled and grateful for your service.
America, for all that we have endured;
for all the grit and hard work required to come back;
for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:
The shadow of crisis has passed, and the
State of the Union is strong.
At this moment -- with a growing economy,
shrinking deficits, bustling industry, booming energy
production -- we have risen from recession
freer to write our own future than any other
nation on Earth.
It's now up to us to choose who we want
to be over the next 15 years and for decades to come.
Will we accept an economy where only a few
of us do spectacularly well?
Or will we commit ourselves to an economy
that generates rising incomes and chances
for everyone who makes the effort?
Will we approach the world fearful and reactive,
dragged into costly conflicts that strain
our military and set back our standing?
Or will we lead wisely, using all elements
of our power to defeat new threats and protect
our planet?
Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions
and turned against one another?
Or will we recapture the sense of common purpose
that has always propelled America forward?
In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget
filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan.
And in the months ahead, I'll crisscross the
country making a case for those ideas.
So tonight, I want to focus less on a checklist
of proposals, and focus more on the values
at stake in the choices before us.
It begins with our economy.
Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler
of Minneapolis were newlyweds.
She waited tables.
He worked construction.
Their first child, Jack, was on the way.
They were young and in love in America.
And it doesn't get much better than that.
"If only we had known," Rebekah wrote to me last
spring, "what was about to happen to the housing
and construction market."
As the crisis worsened, Ben's business dried up,
so he took what jobs he could find, even if they
kept him on the road for long stretches of time.
Rebekah took out student loans and enrolled
in community college, and retrained for a new career.
They sacrificed for each other.
And slowly, it paid off.
They bought their first home.
They had a second son, Henry.
Rebekah got a better job and then a raise.
Ben is back in construction -- and
home for dinner every night.
"It is amazing," Rebekah wrote, "what you can
bounce back from when you have to...we are a strong,
tight-knit family who has made it through some
very, very hard times."
"We are a strong, tight-knit family who
has made it through some very, very hard times."
America, Rebekah and Ben's story is our story.
They represent the millions who have worked
hard and scrimped, and sacrificed and retooled.
You are the reason that I ran for this office.
You are the people I was thinking of six years
ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis,
when I stood on the steps of this Capitol and promised
we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation.
And it has been your resilience, your effort
that has made it possible for our country
to emerge stronger.
We believed we could reverse the tide
of outsourcing and draw new jobs to our shores.
And over the past five years, our businesses
have created more than 11 million new jobs.
We believed we could reduce our dependence
on foreign oil and protect our planet.
And today, America is number one in oil and gas.
America is number one in wind power.
Every three weeks, we bring online as much
solar power as we did in all of 2008.
And thanks to lower gas prices
and higher fuel standards, the typical family
this year should save about $750 at the pump.
We believed we could prepare our kids for
a more competitive world.
And today, our younger students have earned the
highest math and reading scores on record.
Our high school graduation rate has
hit an all-time high.
More Americans finish college than ever before.
We believed that sensible regulations could
prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin,
and encourage fair competition.
Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded
bailouts, and a new consumer watchdog
to protect us from predatory lending and abusive
credit card practices.
And in the past year alone, about 10 million
uninsured Americans finally gained
the security of health coverage.
At every step, we were told our goals were
misguided or too ambitious; that
we would crush jobs and explode deficits.
Instead, we've seen the fastest economic growth
in over a decade, our deficits cut
by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled,
and health care inflation at its lowest rate
in 50 years.
This is good news, people.
So the verdict is clear.
Middle-class economics works.
Expanding opportunity works.
And these policies will continue to work as long
as politics don't get in the way.
We can't slow down businesses or put our
economy at risk with government shutdowns
or fiscal showdowns.
We can't put the security of families at risk
by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling
the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting
past battles on immigration when we've
got to fix a broken system.
And if a bill comes to my desk that tries
to do any of these things, I will veto it.
It will have earned my veto.
Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery
is touching more and more lives.
Wages are finally starting to rise again.
We know that more small business owners
plan to raise their employees' pay than
at any time since 2007.
But here's the thing: Those of us here tonight,
we need to set our sights higher than just making
sure government doesn't screw things up;
that government doesn't halt the progress we're making.
We need to do more than just do no harm.
Tonight, together, let's do more to restore
the link between hard work and growing opportunity
for every American.
Because families like Rebekah's still
need our help.
She and Ben are working as hard as ever,
but they've had to forego vacations and a new car
so that they can pay off student loans and save for retirement.
Friday night pizza, that's a big splurge.
Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than
their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the
University of Minnesota.
Like millions of hardworking Americans,
Rebekah isn't asking for a handout, but she
is asking that we look for more ways to help
families get ahead.
And in fact, at every moment of economic
change throughout our history, this country
has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances
and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot.
We set up worker protections,
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid to protect
ourselves from the harshest adversity.
We gave our citizens schools and colleges,
infrastructure and the Internet -- tools they
needed to go as far as their effort and their
dreams will take them.
That's what middle-class economics is --
the idea that this country does best when everyone gets
their fair shot, everyone does their fair share,
everyone plays by the same set of rules.
We don't just want everyone to share
in America's success, we want everyone
to contribute to our success.
So what does middle-class economics require
in our time?
First, middle-class economics means helping
working families feel more secure in a world
of constant change.
That means helping folks afford childcare, college,
health care, a home, retirement.
And my budget will address each of these issues,
lowering the taxes of working families
and putting thousands of dollars back into
their pockets each year.
Here's one example.
During World War II, when men like
my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother
in the workforce was a national security priority
-- so this country provided universal childcare.
In today's economy, when having both parents in the
workforce is an economic necessity for many families,
we need affordable, high-quality
childcare more than ever.
It's not a nice-to-have -- it's a must-have.
So it's time we stop treating childcare
as a side issue, or as a women's issue, and treat
it like the national economic priority that
it is for all of us.
And that's why my plan will make quality
childcare more available and more affordable for
every middle-class and low-income family with
young children in America -- by creating more slots
and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child,
per year.
Here's another example.
Today, we are the only advanced country
on Earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave
or paid maternity leave to our workers.
Forty-three million workers have no paid
sick leave -- 43 million.
Think about that.
And that forces too many parents to make the
gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and
a sick kid at home.
So I'll be taking new action to help states
adopt paid leave laws of their own.
And since paid sick leave won where it was
on the ballot last November, let's put it to a vote
right here in Washington.
Send me a bill that gives every worker
in America the opportunity to earn seven days
of paid sick leave.
It's the right thing to do.
It's the right thing to do.
Of course, nothing helps families make ends
meet like higher wages.
That's why this Congress still needs to pass
a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same
as a man for doing the same work.
It's 2015.
It's time.
We still need to make sure employees get the
overtime they've earned.
And to everyone in this Congress who still
refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this:
If you truly believe you could work full-time
and support a family on less than
$15,000 a year, try it.
If not, vote to give millions of the
hardest-working people in America a raise.
Now, these ideas won't make everybody rich,
won't relieve every hardship.
That's not the job of government.
To give working families a fair shot, we still
need more employers to see beyond next quarter's
earnings and recognize that investing
in their workforce is in their company's
long-term interest.
We still need laws that strengthen rather than
weaken unions, and give American workers a voice.
But you know, things like childcare and sick leave
and equal pay; things like lower mortgage premiums
and a higher minimum wage -- these ideas will make
a meaningful difference in the lives of millions
of families.
That's a fact.
And that's what all of us, Republicans
and Democrats alike, were sent here to do.
Now second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages
down the road, we have to do more to help Americans
upgrade their skills.
America thrived in the 20th century
because we made high school free, sent
a generation of GIs to college, trained the
best workforce in the world.
We were ahead of the curve.
But other countries caught on.
And in a 21st century economy that rewards
knowledge like never before, we need to up our game.
We need to do more.
By the end of this decade, two in three job openings
will require some higher education -- two in three.
And yet, we still live in a country where too many
bright, striving Americans are priced out
of the education they need.
It's not fair to them, and it's sure
not smart for our future.
That's why I'm sending this Congress a bold
new plan to lower the cost of community college --
to zero.
Keep in mind 40 percent of our college students
choose community college.
Some are young and starting out.
Some are older and looking for a better job.
Some are veterans and single parents trying
to transition back into the job market.
Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate
ready for the new economy without a load of debt.
Understand, you've got to earn it.
You've got to keep your grades up and
graduate on time.
Tennessee, a state with Republican leadership,
and Chicago, a city with Democratic leadership,
are showing that free community college
is possible.
I want to spread that idea all across America,
so that two years of college becomes as free
and universal in America as high school is today.
Let's stay ahead of the curve.
And I want to work with this Congress
to make sure those already burdened with student
loans can reduce their monthly payments
so that student debt doesn't derail anyone's dreams.
Thanks to Vice President Biden's great work
to update our job training system, we're connecting
community colleges with local employers to train
workers to fill high-paying jobs
like coding, and nursing, and robotics.
Tonight, I'm also asking more businesses
to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer
more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships
-- opportunities that give workers the chance to earn
higher-paying jobs even if they don't have
a higher education.
And as a new generation of veterans comes home,
we owe them every opportunity to live the American Dream
they helped defend.
Already, we've made strides towards ensuring
that every veteran has access to the
highest quality care.
We're slashing the backlog that had too many veterans
waiting years to get the benefits they need.
And we're making it easier for vets to translate
their training and experience into
civilian jobs.
And Joining Forces, the national campaign launched
by Michelle and Jill Biden --
-- thank you, Michelle; thank you, Jill -- has helped nearly
700,000 veterans and military spouses
get a new job.
So to every CEO in America, let me repeat:
If you want somebody who's going to get the job
done and done right, hire a veteran.
Finally, as we better train our workers,
we need the new economy to keep churning out
high-wage jobs for our workers to fill.
Since 2010, America has put more people back
to work than Europe, Japan, and all
advanced economies combined.
Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000
new jobs.
Some of our bedrock sectors, like our
auto industry, are booming.
But there are also millions of Americans
who work in jobs that didn't even exist 10 or 20 years
ago -- jobs at companies like Google, and eBay,
and Tesla.
So no one knows for certain which industries
will generate the jobs of the future.
But we do know we want them here in America.
We know that.
And that's why the third part of
middle-class economics is all about building the
most competitive economy anywhere, the place where
businesses want to locate and hire.
Twenty-first century businesses need
21st century infrastructure -- modern ports, and stronger
bridges, faster trains, and the fastest Internet.
Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this.
So let's set our sights higher than
a single oil pipeline.
Let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan
that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per
year, and make this country stronger
for decades to come.
Let's do it.
Let's get it done.
Let's get it done.
Twenty-first century businesses, including
small businesses, need to sell more
American products overseas.
Today, our businesses export more than ever,
and exporters tend to pay their workers
higher wages.
But as we speak, China wants to write the rules
for the world's fastest-growing region.
That would put our workers and our businesses
at a disadvantage.
Why would we let that happen?
We should write those rules.
We should level the playing field.
That's why I'm asking both parties to give me trade
promotion authority to protect American workers,
with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe
that aren't just free, but are also fair.
It's the right thing to do.
Look, I'm the first one to admit that past trade
deals haven't always lived up to the hype, and that's
why we've gone after countries that break
the rules at our expense.
But 95 percent of the world's customers
live outside our borders.
We can't close ourselves off
from those opportunities.
More than half of manufacturing executives
have said they're actively looking
to bring jobs back from China.
So let's give them one more reason
to get it done.
Twenty-first century businesses will rely
on American science and technology, research
and development.
I want the country that eliminated polio
and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine
-- one that delivers the right treatment
at the right time.
In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this
approach has reversed a disease once
thought unstoppable.
So tonight, I'm launching a new
Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer
to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes, and to give
all of us access to the personalized information
we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.
We can do this.
I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend
its reach to every classroom, and every community --
-- and help folks build the fastest networks
so that the next generation
of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the
platform to keep reshaping our world.
I want Americans to win the race for the kinds
of discoveries that unleash new jobs -- converting
sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary
prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms
for his country can play catch with his kids again.
Pushing out into the solar system
not just to visit, but to stay.
Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part
of a reenergized space program that will
send American astronauts to Mars.
And in two months, to prepare us for those
missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay
in space.
So good luck, Captain.
Make sure to Instagram it.
We're proud of you.
Now, the truth is, when it comes to issues like
infrastructure and basic research, I know there's
bipartisan support in this chamber.
Members of both parties have told me so.
Where we too often run onto the rocks is how
to pay for these investments.
As Americans, we don't mind paying our fair share
of taxes as long as everybody else does, too.
But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged
the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations
pay nothing while others pay full freight.
They've riddled it with giveaways that the
super-rich don't need, while denying a break
to middle-class families who do.
This year, we have an opportunity to change that.
Let's close loopholes so we stop rewarding
companies that keep profits abroad, and reward
those that invest here in America.
Let's use those savings to rebuild our
infrastructure and to make it more attractive
for companies to bring jobs home.
Let's simplify the system and let a small business
owner file based on her actual bank statement,
instead of the number of accountants
she can afford.
And let's close the loopholes that lead
to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid
paying taxes on their accumulated wealth.
We can use that money to help more families pay
for childcare and send their kids to college.
We need a tax code that truly helps working
Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy,
and we can achieve that together.
We can achieve it together.
Helping hardworking families make ends meet.
Giving them the tools they need for good-paying
jobs in this new economy.
Maintaining the conditions of growth
and competitiveness.
This is where America needs to go.
I believe it's where the American people want to go.
It will make our economy stronger a year from now,
15 years from now, and deep into the century ahead.
Of course, if there's one thing this new century has
taught us, it's that we cannot separate our work
here at home from challenges beyond our shores.
My first duty as Commander-in-Chief
is to defend the United States of America.
In doing so, the question is not whether America
leads in the world, but how.
When we make rash decisions, reacting
to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the
first response to a challenge is to send in our military --
then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary
conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need
for a safer, more prosperous world.
That's what our enemies want us to do.
I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership.
We lead best when we combine military power
with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power
with coalition building; when we don't let our
fears blind us to the opportunities that
this new century presents.
That's exactly what we're doing right now.
And around the globe, it is making a difference.
First, we stand united with people around the
world who have been targeted by terrorists --
from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris.
We will continue to hunt down
terrorists and dismantle their networks, and
we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we have
done relentlessly since I took office to take out
terrorists who pose a direct threat
to us and our allies.
At the same time, we've learned some costly
lessons over the last 13 years.
Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of
Afghanistan, we've trained their security forces, who
have now taken the lead, and we've honored our
troops' sacrifice by supporting that country's
first democratic transition.
Instead of sending large ground forces overseas,
we're partnering with nations from South Asia
to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists
who threaten America.
In Iraq and Syria, American leadership --
including our military power -- is stopping
ISIL's advance.
Instead of getting dragged into another ground war
in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition,
including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately
destroy this terrorist group.
We're also supporting a moderate
opposition in Syria that can help us in this
effort, and assisting people everywhere who
stand up to the bankrupt ideology
of violent extremism.
Now, this effort will take time.
It will require focus.
But we will succeed.
And tonight, I call on this Congress to show
the world that we are united in this mission
by passing a resolution to authorize the use
of force against ISIL.
We need that authority.
Second, we're demonstrating the power
of American strength and diplomacy.
We're upholding the principle that bigger
nations can't bully the small -- by opposing
Russian aggression, and supporting Ukraine's
democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies.
Last year, as we were doing the hard work
of imposing sanctions along with our allies,
as we were reinforcing our presence with the frontline
states, Mr. Putin's aggression it was
suggested was a masterful display of strategy
and strength.
That's what I heard from some folks.
Well, today, it is America that stands strong and
united with our allies, while Russia is isolated
with its economy in tatters.
That's how America leads -- not with bluster,
but with persistent, steady resolve.
In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long
past its expiration date.
When what you're doing doesn't work
for 50 years, it's time to try something new.
And our shift in Cuba policy has the
potential to end a legacy of mistrust
in our hemisphere.
It removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba.
It stands up for democratic values,
and extends the hand of friendship
to the Cuban people.
And this year, Congress should begin the
work of ending the embargo.
As His Holiness, Pope Francis, has said,
diplomacy is the work of "small steps."
These small steps have added up to new hope
for the future in Cuba.
And after years in prison, we are overjoyed that
Alan Gross is back where he belongs.
Welcome home, Alan.
We're glad you're here.
Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran,
where, for the first time in a decade, we've halted
the progress of its nuclear program and
reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.
Between now and this spring, we have a chance
to negotiate a comprehensive agreement
that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran,
secures America and our allies -- including
Israel, while avoiding yet another
Middle East conflict.
There are no guarantees that negotiations will
succeed, and I keep all options on the table
to prevent a nuclear Iran.
But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this
moment in time, will all but guarantee
that diplomacy fails -- alienating America
from its allies; making it harder to maintain
sanctions; and ensuring that Iran starts
up its nuclear program again.
It doesn't make sense.
And that's why I will veto any new sanctions bill
that threatens to undo this progress.
The American people expect us only
to go to war as a last resort, and I intend
to stay true to that wisdom.
Third, we're looking beyond the issues that
have consumed us in the past to shape
the coming century.
No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able
to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets,
or invade the privacy of American families,
especially our kids.
So we're making sure our government
integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats,
just as we have done to combat terrorism.
And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass
the legislation we need to better meet the evolving
threat of cyber attacks, combat identity theft,
and protect our children's information.
That should be a bipartisan effort.
If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and
our economy vulnerable.
If we do, we can continue to protect
the technologies that have unleashed untold
opportunities for people around the globe.
In West Africa, our troops, our scientists,
our doctors, our nurses, our health care workers
are rolling back Ebola -- saving countless lives
and stopping the spread of disease.
I could not be prouder of them,
and I thank this Congress for your bipartisan support
of their efforts.
But the job is not yet done, and the world
needs to use this lesson to build a more effective
global effort to prevent the spread of future
pandemics, invest in smart development,
and eradicate extreme poverty.
In the Asia Pacific, we are modernizing alliances
while making sure that other nations play
by the rules -- in how they trade, how they resolve
maritime disputes, how they participate
in meeting common international challenges
like nonproliferation and disaster relief.
And no challenge -- no challenge --
poses a greater threat to future generations
than climate change.
2014 was the planet's warmest year on record.
Now, one year doesn't make a trend, but this does:
14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen
in the first 15 years of this century.
I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence
by saying they're not scientists; that we don't
have enough information to act.
Well, I'm not a scientist, either.
But you know what, I know a lot of really good
scientists at NASA, and at NOAA, and at our
major universities.
And the best scientists in the world are all telling
us that our activities are changing the climate,
and if we don't act forcefully, we'll continue
to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves,
dangerous droughts and floods, and massive
disruptions that can trigger greater migration
and conflict and hunger around the globe.
The Pentagon says that climate change poses
immediate risks to our national security.
We should act like it.
And that's why, over the past six years, we've done
more than ever to combat climate change,
from the way we produce energy to the way we use it.
That's why we've set aside more public lands
and waters than any administration in history.
And that's why I will not let this Congress endanger
the health of our children by turning
back the clock on our efforts.
I am determined to make sure that
American leadership drives international action.
In Beijing, we made a historic announcement:
The United States will double the pace at which
we cut carbon pollution.
And China committed, for the first time,
to limiting their emissions.
And because the world's two largest economies
came together, other nations are now stepping up,
and offering hope that this year the world will
finally reach an agreement to protect
the one planet we've got.
And there's one last pillar of our leadership,
and that's the example of our values.
As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when
we're threatened, which is why I have 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 are
the right thing to do, but because ultimately they
will make us safer.
As Americans, we have a profound
commitment to justice.
So it makes no sense to spend $3 million
per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world
condemns and terrorists use to recruit.
Since I've been President, we've worked
responsibly to cut the population
of Gitmo in half.
Now it is time to finish the job.
And I will not relent in my determination
to shut it down.
It is not who we are.
It's time to close Gitmo.
As Americans, we cherish our civil liberties,
and we need to uphold that commitment
if we want maximum cooperation from other
countries and industry in our fight against
terrorist networks.
So while some have moved on from the debates over
our surveillance programs, I have not.
As promised, our intelligence agencies
have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy
advocates, to increase transparency and build
more safeguards against potential abuse.
And next month, we'll issue a report on how
we're keeping our promise to keep our country safe
while strengthening privacy.
Looking to the future instead of the past.
Making sure we match our power with diplomacy,
and use force wisely.
Building coalitions to meet new challenges
and opportunities.
Leading -- always -- with the example of our values.
That's what makes us exceptional.
That's what keeps us strong.
That's why we have to keep striving to hold ourselves
to the highest of standards -- our own.
You know, just over a decade ago, I gave
a speech in Boston where I said there wasn't
a liberal America or a conservative America;
a black America or a white America -- but
a United States of America.
I said this because I had seen it in my own life,
in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because
I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and
customs; because I made Illinois my home --
a state of small towns, rich farmland, one of the
world's great cities; a microcosm of the country
where Democrats and Republicans
and Independents, good people of every ethnicity
and every faith, share certain bedrock values.
Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed
out more than once that my presidency hasn't
delivered on this vision.
How ironic, they say, that our politics seems
more divided than ever.
It's held up as proof not just of my own flaws --
of which there are many -- but also as proof that
the vision itself is misguided, naïve,
that there are too many people in this town who
actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock
for us to ever do anything about it.
I know how tempting such cynicism may be.
But I still think the cynics are wrong.
I still believe that we are one people.
I still believe that together, we can do great
things, even when the odds are long.
I believe this because over and over
in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best.
I've seen the hopeful faces of young graduates
from New York to California, and our newest
officers at West Point, Annapolis,
Colorado Springs, New London.
I've mourned with grieving families in Tucson and
Newtown, in Boston, in West Texas,
and West Virginia.
I've watched Americans beat back adversity from
the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains, from Midwest
assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard.
I've seen something like gay marriage go from
a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story
of freedom across our country, a civil right now
legal in states that seven in 10 Americans call home.
So I know the good, and optimistic, and
big-hearted generosity of the American people who
every day live the idea that we are our
brother's keeper and our sister's keeper.
And I know they expect those of us who serve
here to set a better example.
So the question for those of us here tonight is how
we, all of us, can better reflect America's hopes.
I've served in Congress with many of you.
I know many of you well.
There are a lot of good people here, on both
sides of the aisle.
And many of you have told me that this isn't
what you signed up for -- arguing past each other
on cable shows, the constant fundraising,
always looking over your shoulder at how the base
will react to every decision.
Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns.
Imagine if we did something different.
Understand, a better politics isn't one where
Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans
simply embrace mine.
A better politics is one where we appeal to each
other's basic decency instead
of our basest fears.
A better politics is one where we debate without
demonizing each other; where we talk issues and
values, and principles and facts, rather than
"gotcha" moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake
controversies that have nothing to do with
people's daily lives.
A politics -- a better politics is one where
we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that
pull us into the gutter, and spend more time
lifting young people up with a sense of purpose
and possibility, asking them to join in the
great mission of building America.
If we're going to have arguments, let's have
arguments, but let's make them debates worthy
of this body and worthy of this country.
We still may not agree on a woman's right to choose,
but surely we can agree it's a good thing that
teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing
all-time lows, and that every woman should have
access to the health care that she needs.
Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely
we can all see something of ourselves in the striving
young student, and agree that no one benefits when
a hardworking mom is snatched from her child,
and that it's possible to shape a law that upholds
our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation
of immigrants.
I've talked to Republicans and Democrats about that.
That's something that we can share.
We may go at it in campaign season,
but surely we can agree that the right to vote
is sacred; that it's being denied to too many --
-- and that on this 50th anniversary
of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and
the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we can come
together, Democrats and Republicans, to make
voting easier for every single American.
We may have different takes on the events
of Ferguson and New York.
But surely we can understand a father
who fears his son can't walk home without
being harassed.
And surely we can understand the wife
who won't rest until the police officer
she married walks through the front door at the
end of his shift.
And surely we can agree that it's
a good thing that for the first time in 40 years,
the crime rate and the incarceration rate
have come down together, and use that as a starting
point for Democrats and Republicans, community
leaders and law enforcement, to reform
America's criminal justice system so that
it protects and serves all of us.
That's a better politics.
That's how we start rebuilding trust.
That's how we move this country forward.
That's what the American people want.
And that's what they deserve.
I have no more campaigns to run.
My only agenda --
-- I know because I won both of them.
My only agenda for the next two years
is the same as the one I've had since the day I swore
an oath on the steps of this Capitol -- to do what
I believe is best for America.
If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight,
I ask you to join me in the work at hand.
If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you'll
at least work with me where you do agree.
And I commit to every Republican here tonight
that I will not only seek out your ideas,
I will seek to work with you to make
this country stronger.
Because I want this chamber, I want this city
to reflect the truth -- that for all our blind
spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the
strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides,
to unite in common effort, to help our neighbors,
whether down the street or on the other
side of the world.
I want our actions to tell every child in every
neighborhood, your life matters, and we are
committed to improving your life chances as
committed as we are to working on behalf
of our own kids.
I want future generations to know
that we are a people who see our differences as a great
gift, that we're a people who value the dignity and
worth of every citizen -- man and woman, young and
old, black and white, Latino, Asian, immigrant,
Native American, gay, straight, Americans
with mental illness or physical disability.
Everybody matters.
I want them to grow up in a country that shows
the world what we still know to be true:
that we are still more than a collection of red states
and blue states; that we are the
United States of America.
I want them to grow up in a country where a young
mom can sit down and write a letter to her President
with a story that sums up these past six years:
"It's amazing what you can bounce back from when you
have to...we are a strong, tight-knit family who's
made it through some very, very hard times."
My fellow Americans, we, too, are a strong,
tight-knit family.
We, too, have made it through some hard times.
Fifteen years into this new century, we have
picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off,
and begun again the work of remaking America.
We have laid a new foundation.
A brighter future is ours to write.
Let's begin this new chapter together --
and let's start the work right now.
Thank you.
God bless you.
God bless this country we love.
Thank you.
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President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address

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稲葉白兎 published on January 24, 2015
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