After reading Alan Holmes’ piece on reaction to the State of the Union address, I found it fitting to respond to offer a clear contrast.

Any objective party would agree that the President’s soft words and patriotic rhetoric were a welcomed change to the Republican narrative that has dominated the political landscape in the last few months.

Too often, the talk has been solely about repealing Obama-care (which won’t happen), ending Obama’s socialistic “reign” in office (which has been corporatist if anything), and threatening more enemies abroad (which Obama himself has done all too well).

The national media’s focus has largely been on the fantasy horse-race that they themselves have put on for the public, demonstrated quite well in hugely-televised debates and distracting scandals exaggerated to fill the empty crevices of the 24 hour news cycle.

It is, in essence, the Greatest Show On Earth. How else could candidates who have no national campaign, or even enough signatures to be on multiple ballots across the country, become the winners of a state primary or caucus? How else could previously defunct candidates, who have failed in the public eye so many times before and now can rely on the media’s attention for their sole support, become legitimate options for a major party’s nomination? 

Of late, our ears have been inundated with thoughts of triple marriages, twenty-year affairs, bloated government tax returns, semantic arguments on the definitions of lobbying, long-form birth certificates, foreign bank accounts, gay-bashing, immigrant-bashing, nativism, and any other wasteful human energy that can fit between the fabricated laugh tracks of the morning shows and the redundant propaganda echo chambers which dominate primetime?

How can the national press continue to fuel a political debate of issues which have lost all relevance to actual concerns of the millions of Americans who face an uncertain future of unemployment and debt?

Though I have been clear in regarding Ron Paul and his ideas as the only virtuous avenue in the contemporary national political conversation, I would say that the vast majority of young Americans are frankly exhausted of broad political solutions offered to combat nationwide problems, especially when they have been unambiguously created by political meddling, whether by a Republican or Democratic hand. The problems with our hierarchical system are so heavily entrenched that any status quo politician or solution scheme risks renewing permanent despair.

But instead of channeling the anger and resentment espoused by grassroots movements of all political spectra, the overriding focus only seems to be one of ultimate power acquisition, as a means of forcing unquestioned beliefs on others.

It was no accident that President Obama struck such a populist tone at his 2012 State of the Union speech, echoing all the same policies and plans which have come to disastrous ends once realized in legislation.
  • To begin, the President took great effort to offer more tax credits for companies who choose to stay in America and hire workers. This central premise again promotes the fallacy which has been visited upon so many times before, that temporary tax relief will somehow incentivize dormant employers to hire leagues of new workers. While it may be a well-intentioned attempt to rig the system in favor of new jobs, it distorts the real signals that entrepreneurs need to create productive, lasting jobs, not just temporary positions created in order to take advantage of a free handout. Specifically targeting new hires with a temporary refund check may be a great, politically popular, but it falls short of providing any permanent recovery that a diverse economy such as the United States would need.
  • The President’s pledge to community colleges is once again another grand endeavor, especially as states scramble to save revenue to fund primary schools, and will surely be followed through with more Federal commitment to local education. To fans of an ever-growing Department of Education this may be a win, but an already-ballooned national debt seriously clouds any large-scale effort to recapitalize government institutions across the nation.
  • Seeking to solidify the youth vote, Obama once again promised reforms to curb interest rates on student loan debt, a constant venture for the first-term President. While this may temporarily alleviate individual college students who have federal loans, it is almost guaranteed to further blow up the higher education bubble, once again causing tuitions to rise to even more unaffordable levels. If the government guarantees yet another generation of worry-free education without any significant funding mandate, it is only telling how expensive an education will be in a decade.

Despite the democratic uprisings during his term, the President has failed to grasp what ordinary youth are frustrated with.

The spirits which spurred the Occupy moment of the past six months have not been erected in vain to support President Obama’s policies of endless taxpayer monies to bankrupt industries or government slush-funds to loyal supporters, no matter how much the Democratic party would love to follow their Republican colleagues’ example of co-opting the Tea Party.

Nor have the voting electorate’s latest preferences for Republicans meant that the last forty years of unfunded war and invasion of foreign nations is a preferable, or necessary, action of government.

The truth is that the solutions to grandiose problems, repeatedly reinforced by the two-party tyranny, will never be achieved by the ballot box or the feel-good rhetoric of a power-happy Presidential figure. The youth know it, and they expect it. Only by revisiting sound principles of balanced economics, respect for personal liberty, sound money, and peace can any hope of a renewal come to pass.

Otherwise, it’s just one side of the same coin, flipped over at the convenience of the landed and monied elite.