Reflecting on President Biden’s State of the Union

By Miranda Zamora ’23

I originally had no intention of watching President Biden’s State of the Union Address. The only reason that I did was because I was assisting with the watch party hosted by the Eisenhower Institute. With recent events in Ukraine, I was optimistic for President Biden’s State of the Union Address, as he had an opportunity to give a unifying and career changing speech. The President began his address with that very issue, highlighting not only how it has brought us together as a nation, but also how it has strengthened relationships on an international scale. This reflected the patriotic and determined qualities that many people value and the United States; qualities that I have not seen in our society for quite some time. 

Yet the talk of unity quickly ended, and throughout his speech there were continued references to partisan divides, as well as shift from the use of “we” to the use of “me,” “mine” and “I.” The President spoke about his administration, his achievements, and his policies that needed to pass through congress. His address took a focus around the positive aspects of his administration and the laundry list of plans that he has to work towards “building a better America.” 

President Biden went into great detail about what his hopes were for the future. Yet, there were many things that he neglected to mention in his address. For example, he forgot to mention the miscalculations of his administration during the disastrous withdraw from Afghanistan, which recent reports show left over 9,000 Americans abandoned in the region. He also failed to discuss how his administration plans to combat China’s growing international power and their threats to our ideas of democracy. Rather, he briefly mentioned that we as Americans must work to beat China in “the economic competition of the 21st century.” He discussed how his administration plans to combat the historically high inflation rates, but forgot to acknowledge that his plan to fight inflation relies on legislation that the Senate refuses to pass. In doing all of this, President Biden showed that his goal of his address was to cover up the numerous mistakes of his administration, rather than taking responsibility and using these hardships as a chance to better the country. 

This address could have very easily been a defining moment in Joe Biden’s presidential career and a chance for him to deliver an unforgettable and unifying address to the nation. We saw a rare sight on Tuesday night, as the House Chamber was filled with politicians who were all adorned in shades of blue and gold. This symbolized the idea that despite the wide range of ideological differences in the room, politicians that night were able to unite under one common issue. Yet rather than giving an address that would define President Biden as the strong leader that our nation needs, he gave a speech that solidified the disapproval that many Americans already feel.