Breakdown of the State of the Union Address

Alexandra Fennelly, Editor-in-Chief

The State of the Union Address is an important speech given about once a year by our President with the main goal of discussing situations occurring in our country, around the world, and new ways of solving some of these problems such as new laws. This usually is about an hour-long speech with a twenty to thirty minute rebuttal from the opposing political team, this year being the Republicans, who pick someone to represent some concern they have about what President Joe Biden has said. This year, the State of the Union Address took place on March 1, 2022.

Within the weeks leading up to the State of the Union Address, the whole world dramatically changed when the invasion of Ukraine occurred with Russia. When this attack became more prominent to the world and our country and its allies knew this wasn’t going to be an easy attack for Ukraine, it became apparent what topics were going to be discussed that night. Although Ukraine and Russia conflicts were huge topics for President Biden to discuss, COVID-19 was also another huge topic that had many sub-topic topics to discuss as well. This State of the Union Address also covered inflation that is occurring in the United States, the infrastructure bill passed this year, the rights of the LGBTQ+ community with the passing of the Parental Rights in Education bill, more commonly known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in Florida, and the price of prescription drugs.

President Joe Biden started his speech by discussing the Russian invasion with Ukraine. He explained the United States alliance with NATO forces and how he is supporting Ukraine and their fight for their countries freedom. Twenty seven members of western countries, including the United States, are inflicting policies and sanctions to cut off their ties to Russia and to not support them. National banks are also going to be cut off. Also, we are cutting off their westernized finances and cutting their ties to the military to weaken them. He said that more than a billion dollars has been given to Ukraine in support of them. We are also joining with allies to close airways and planes to disassociate from Russia. 

COVID-19 is continuing to have lingering effects as this pandemic is slowly starting to dwindle. One huge effect is continuously rising inflation. Inflation in the United States is tied to both the COVID pandemic and the Russian invasion as Russia is one of the top three producers of gas in the world. The United States worked with thirty countries to get sixty million barrels of gas from reserves to help lower gas prices. Biden  also explained how COVID vaccines helped give people breathing room. He stated how the United States is seeing the lowest rates of COVID since July 2021 and this is largely due to the increase of vaccinations and how more testing is becoming available online for free. The American Rescue plan has helped give Americans breathing room and created jobs for Americans to help them buy food. He stated we should build America from the “bottom up” instead of only the top and using the “trickle down theory”. Biden’s answer is to lower costs, not wages. This means more cars, infrastructure, moving goods faster, and being self-sufficient in America. 

Another point brought up by President Biden was the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, that will “transform America” and modernize airports, build a network of five hundred charging stations for cars and allow clean water without lead for schools. Affordable WiFi for suburbs and urban areas is also going to be implemented. He explained we will be fixing 65,000 miles of highways and 1,500 bridges. By helping the infrastructure, wages will also benefit. He explained how the only way to fix America is by investing in America. 

President Biden also loosely brought up the increase in prices of prescription drugs, such as insulin. He even brought a young boy who has Type 1 diabetes, Joshua Davis, and tried to show how common it is for people to pay these extraordinarily high prices to get medicine to survive. Biden said that one major drug company is driving up prices which is negatively affecting the American people. According to Biden, The American Rescue plan is helping millions of families on Affordable Care Act plans to “save them two thousand four hundred dollars a year on their health premiums. Let’s close the coverage gap and make those savings permanent.”

This past year, police brutality and police funding has been a very controversial topic that is often used as a partisan idea for political parties. Joe Biden conveyed his message of how he doesn’t want to defund the police. Rather he wants more funding for better training and to change the system in which these police officers are learning. He emphasized that America needs change, and that cannot come if we are defunding the police. He says how the American Rescue Plan, “provided three hundred fifty billion dollars that cities, states, and counties can use to hire more police, invest in more proven strategies like community violence interruption, trusted messengers breaking the cycle of violence and trauma and giving young people some hope.” 

Biden directly addressed members of the LGBTQ+ community by asking Congress to pass the Equality Act after many acts have been passed in states that directly target specifically transgender families, and said, “It’s simply wrong.” He said, “As I said last year especially to our younger transgender Americans. I’ll always have your back as your President so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.” 

The message of unity and how important it is for the United State to work together was conveyed all throughout his speech. During such times of uncertainty, he wanted to ensure the people of problems occurring in the world and how he plans on doing everything in his power to do his best for the American people.