Just a Great Drinking Game?
Published: Friday, February 7, 2014
Updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014 15:02
Rhetoric. It’s as much as we’ve come to expect from those we elect to represent our great nation. Say the right things, we will nod our heads along with you enthusiastically, and then continue to go about our business. However, Americans have reached the point where just saying all of the right things is no longer good enough. We don’t vote members of Congress or Presidents into office because they know how to speak. True, effective rhetoric can go a long way. But it must be used as a tool to further enhance the efficiency of policy makers. Simply being a great speaker is not enough.
President Barack Obama is a phenomenal public speaker and always has been. Very few people question this. I personally thought that his State of the Union Address this past Tuesday was one of the single greatest speeches that he has given in his decorated political career. He said all the right things, “more jobs, income equality, recreate the middle class, focus on education.” For those of us lucky enough to be 21, it was hard to visit the vast pages of the internet without seeing “best drinking game for the State of the Union address,” or “drink every time Obama says ‘jobs,’ and finish your drink when Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner rolls his eyes” (in fact it might have been more appropriate to drink every time Boehner’s face turned a darker shade of orange).
My point in bringing up the abundance of drinking games is not to tell you how college kids and even adults find reasons to drink on an abundance of occasions, but to depict this “new” culture of the State of the Union. If any other Americans are at all like the group of friends I watched the Address with or like myself, then you will understand what I mean when I argue that we partially play these games because we are tired of all the fantastic rhetoric that is rarely accompanied by any action that benefits real Americans. We listen to the speeches, we get fired up about the potential betterment of our nation, and then we sit around for months not hearing about anything except gridlock or infighting.
To be clear, I am not placing the totality of blame for this on President Obama whatsoever. As previously stated, I really liked his speech. However, both sides of the aisle including the President, the Speaker of the House and the Senate minority and majority leaders have spent the past several years saying all of the right things then blaming the other side when “ridiculous” proposals are made or gridlock ensues.
This type of talk may appeal to party bases, but it frustrates real Americans to no end. Politicians should not be about smiling for the camera and yelling, “vote for me.” If today’s politicians spent half as much time editing bills and working with the other side as they do protecting their image and opposing legislation because “it won’t make them look good” I think our country would be in an even better place than it is today. Maybe this time the message will get across.