From left to right, our thoughts on State of the Union 2014

Security setting up outside of the Capitol in preparation of the president's speech.

Gavin Stern/SHFWire photo

Security setting up outside of the Capitol in preparation of the president's speech.

Jasmine Aguilera and Helen Yip

Optimistic, hopeful, but a lot to be desired—A view from the left

President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address touched on every topic I was hoping to hear about.

Repealing voter identification laws, immigration reform, stricter gun control, environmental awareness, student loan repayment rates, gender equality and economic disparity. But if there’s one thing I know about Obama’s administrations, it’s not to get my hopes up.

Not to place the entirety of blame on the man, but on an increasingly conservative House of Representatives.

This is now the fifth address Obama has delivered and it seems like we hear the same promises each year. Because of the lack of cooperation by extreme Republicans in the House, the president has had to turn to passing numerous executive orders to try to do right by Americans who are suffering from their pettiness. One such order Obama promised to pass in the address should raise minimum wage for government contractors.

Beautiful ideas were spoken tonight. He stood up for the little guy, the students, the women, the minorities who are at a disadvantage because of a growing disparity between rich and poor. I was also very moved by the standing ovation for Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg.

Even so, I remain pessimistic about the president’s 2014 agenda. I was hoping he would be tougher on uncooperative representatives. It’s time for Obama to call them out on their childishness.

Jasmine Aguilera may be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @JasmineEIC.

Realistic—A view from the right

Full of personal narratives and hopeful ideas and less on numbers and facts, President Barrack Obama’s fifth State of the Union address was simply unrealistic.

The ability to tug at the heartstrings is one Obama uses well.  A tribute to U.S. Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburge and mention to Wounded Warriors was a topic eloquently done.

Maybe he is too young or too idealistic, but the reality of what can be accomplished in Washington when you’re not willing to negotiate seems to have finally set in. Threatening executive orders seemed more of a bully tactic than that of a diplomat the president is claiming to be.

The truth about Washington is you have to be willing to give and take. It was Obama that was unwilling to negotiate with the House of Representatives on the healthcare law that lead to the government shut down.

The House and the president are equally to blame, not to harp solely on one side. The tone was hopeful and no new initiatives made it hard to get behind.

Economic hardship, immigration reform, gun control, foreign policy, strengthening the middle class, insourcing and climate change were only vaguely referenced and didn’t contain actual substance. The only new topic was a call for businesses to raise minimum wage.

Healthcare reform is a noble idea, one that is too complex to try and completely overhaul.

I was rooting for the president. I don’t sit around hoping for our commander and chief to fail, but I am realistic and it seems he gets more egotistical and tyrannical every year.

It’s a thin line when you take the power out of the people’s ability to govern themselves and give it to a big government. But no surprise, the president has continued in his style of being divisively condensing and unwilling to admit failures.

Helen Yip may be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @HMYip.