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  • Writer's pictureKaren Young

I wrote my own progressive SOTU

 


Welcome to Message Monday!


President Biden will give his State of the Union (SOTU) speech on Thursday.  I hope he does well.  The vapid pregame commentary I’ve read inspired me to channel my inner Sam Seaborn and write my own “dream SOTU” speech.  (I make no claim to be an actual speechwriter.) This is much shorter than the real speech would be, of course, just a bit of a dream of how things could be.


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My fellow Americans.  Good evening.  It is my great privilege and honor to speak to you tonight, as I enter the fourth year of my term as President.  We have achieved a lot together these past few years, during the pandemic, and as we recovered.

 

We made vaccines and COVID testing free, so everyone had access and so we could keep everyone healthy and safe.

 

Most Americans got at least $3,000 in direct pandemic support, more if they had children, benefiting lower-income people the most.

 

Thousands of businesses got money that helped them stay open and keep their workers employed, especially small businesses and those in higher-poverty areas.

 

Since then:

 

We cancelled $138 BILLION dollars in student debt for nearly four million borrowers, helping our young people move toward a brighter future.

 

We forced drug companies to lower the cost of insulin to $35 a month for those on Medicare, and the companies went on to lower the cost for everyone.  Almost 40 million Americans have diabetes and need insulin. Now, they can afford it.

 

We are building roads, bridges and other infrastructure across America, including expanding broadband in rural areas, helping families and businesses access more opportunity.

 

We have a website where you can learn more about what we have achieved for the American people.  I hope you will check it out.

 

Tonight, I want to talk about the future that I hope for, and how, working together, we can fight for this future and make it happen.

 

 

THE FUTURE

 

Freedom is something that matters deeply to all of us.  It’s the great promise of America, what we stand for around the world.  But there are different ideas out there of what freedom means. 

 

As the richest country in the world, we can afford to build a future where people are free from poverty. 

 

I call on Congress to pass a higher minimum wage, indexed to inflation so it keeps up with prices.

 

Americans should be free to work just one job that pays enough for a decent life. We should be free from poison, injuries and discrimination on the job.  My administration will work with the Labor Department, the Justice Department, and Congress to create stronger labor laws and much stronger enforcement of those laws.  I want to acknowledge Shawn Fain of the United Autoworkers Union (he stands to applause).  I was proud to stand with the UAW on their picket line last summer, as I am to stand with all workers for freedom and justice on the job. Thank you, Shawn, for your leadership.

 

We have far too many Americans living in deep poverty, in both rural and urban areas.  And looking to a future where artificial intelligence and automation may make many jobs obsolete, we need to provide general support for Americans with a universal basic income. Our people must be free of the desperation that poverty and joblessness bring. My administration will expand the number of pilot programs currently being done around the country. We hope to develop a national program within the next five years.

 

We must have a future where women are free from vast government overreach into the most personal aspects of their lives.  Women must be able to make their own decisions about when and whether to have children and raise children, and must be able to access abortions.  My administration will support state governments, and seek a Constitutional amendment, to protect this fundamental freedom. I want to acknowledge Dr. Caitlin Bernard (stands to applause).  She provided an abortion to a 10-year-old girl who was impregnated by a rapist and had to travel out of her own state, where the procedure was illegal.  No little girl, and no woman, should ever have to face that choice.  Thank you, Dr. Bernard.

 

America stands for freedom, not only for our own people, but as a standard-bearer around the world.  We must not only sustain, but expand, our role as a global leader and do much more to support those fighting for freedom and justice and against dictators, wherever they may be.  We must do everything possible to bring about an end to Israel’s war on Gaza and a homeland for the Palestinian people.   I call on Congress to hold further military aid to Israel until a long-term ceasefire is in place. We must maintain our support for the brave people of Ukraine against Russia’s attempt to erase their country from the earth. Most Americans support both these goals, and our government must do the same.  There’s no time to waste.

 

 

HOW CAN WE GET THERE?

 

We need to pull together now to meet this moment.  It will take all of us.  Black, white, brown, Indigenous, Asian.  Immigrants. Young and old.  Gay and straight.  Men and women.  City people, suburbanites, our great farmers and ranchers living in rural areas.  It will take all of us to make sure nobody is left behind. That everyone has a chance to experience America as the land of opportunity that we should be.  We all need to participate in making this country as great as it could be and should be.  It won’t happen overnight.  But if we all take an oar and start rowing, I do believe we can get there.


To do everything we want to do for the American people will take more money. The best way to get that is to make sure that the rich pay their fair share. If you paid even a dollar in taxes last year, you paid more than Amazon or Target did. This has to end. Trump's tax cuts went overwhelmingly to the richest Americans. Those cuts are due to end next year. I promise you that my administration will NOT raise taxes on you, if you are part of the 99%. We WILL raise taxes on the 1%, especially the billionaires, and on big business. If we do that, we CAN deliver what our people need. But we need your support, and we need to elect people to Congress who share our goals.


 We have drifted apart from each other.  Too many people feel alone, looked down upon or even abandoned.  Social media fans the flames of hatred, anger and intolerance, and people spend too little time with each other in person.  Disinformation can make it seem like we live in completely different worlds.  Far too often, these extreme emotions lead people to pull out guns and start shooting, often hitting innocent bystanders, even children.  This doesn’t solve anything. 

 

We are the richest country in the world.  We can afford to build a country where everyone is free and everyone is taken care of and love always wins.  We need to hold our politicians accountable so that our government serves all of us.  You have the power. I hope you will get involved, if you aren’t already.  America needs you now. Please join us.

 

 

 

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