As an 18 year old college freshman I fear many things such as failure, debt, not finding a job once I graduate, and a racially divided America. While I am still trying to find what political association I affiliate with on my own has been quite the challenge. After watching the 2015 State of the Union Address I became well aware of our country’s strives and struggles. The two points that really struck a cord with me from our president was his views on education and the little said about the events in Ferguson, Missouri and the repercussions. “Rewards for effective schools, coupled with encouragement to follow their curricula and methods. State laws that require students to stay in school until graduation or age 18. Double the number of work study jobs over the next five years,” all these promises for reform seem very appealing to young Americans. More than 1.3 million students drop out of high school every year and those with just a high school degree earn a lifetime income about 50-100 percent higher than non-graduates. Even though more kids are graduating nor more than ever before a total of 16.8 percent of new graduates are “underemployed,” meaning jobless but hunting for work or working part-time because they cannot find a full time position. President Obama himself said, “Its not just quitting yourself, its quitting your country.” It is proven that higher graduation rates decrease violence and poverty, two of the most potent issues in our country. “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. Surely we can understand the wife who cannot rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift.”
The President’s 2015 SOTU address was much different than his past 2013 SOTU especially on the idea of gun control. In 2013 he pledged to keep trying to reduce gun violence and in the year 2015 not a mere word was spared of guns. Police brutality activists were angered by the Presidents gloss over Ferguson events. A huge part of the SOTU was dedicated to foreign affairs but only a sliver was dedicated to our domestic violence issues. A Washington Post Poll shows that 48 percent of Americans approve and 45 percent of Americans disapprove of the grand jury’s decision not charge officer Darren Wilson. The poll was produced by Langer Research Associates and the outcome was not only based on race but by party affiliation, ideology, age, and other factors. Our deep racial divide has lead to the murdered of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, their killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley stated, “ They take 1 of ours… lefts take 2 of theirs #ShootThePolice.” No Democrat, Republican, Independent, black, white, Hispanic, middle eastern, or Asian American wants to live in fear of the person wearing a hoodie or the person driving the police vehicle. #AllAmericansMatter.
Lauren J. Healy