Editorial: State of Union a time to move forward
The state of our union is the most important topic of today. Anytime a president calls us together, it is time to put aside the state of our individualism. We go individually as the nation goes collectively.
In the past year, we have seen reports that the recession is over in terms of fiscal indicators, that consumer spending and confidence reached an all-time high (recession or not) during December's shopping rush, an end to major combat operations in Iraq and a rededication to Afghanistan, and a Congress reshaped by the electorate.
We've seen unemployment drop to 9.4 percent in December; the lowest U.S. reading since July of 2009, as we continue to aim for the country's unemployment rate average since 1948 of 5.7.
More recently we've seen a movement by Americans to work together. An effort to quit partisan vitriol drew overwhelming support from a nation stunned by deadly violence against an elected official and others in Tucson. "I can tell just by hearing people talk about why they were there for Martin Luther King Day, and that what's happening in Tucson and what's happening around the country in the recession is absolutely affecting people," Maggie Garvey, Yavapai VISTA program director, told us this past Sunday.
The mood is spreading to, of all places, Washington. A president that witnessed the economy lose nearly 4 million jobs in his first year will see - for the first time since partisan seating started in 1845 - Congress sit mixed as colleagues, not divided as foes, at tonight's State of the Union.
Part of the speech will also focus on everyday Americans who serve bravely when called into action. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' hero intern, Daniel Hernandez and the Tucson trauma surgeons will receive their due recognition from a nation that is confident that such actions will inspire even a chamber full of politicians to serve the welfare of neighbors first and foremost.
President Obama also tonight (7 p.m.) will discuss job growth, health care, deficit reduction and a salute to those who bravely serve us. The speech intends to define America and her plans.
How we as countrymen and women react tonight and tomorrow will define us as Americans.