The State of the Union concerns you, too


Ella Bartlett, Editor in Chief

On Tuesday, January 20th, President Obama gave the State of the Union speech to the country. Despite the important things he addressed, which concern every citizen in the United States, only ten percent of the US watched it (Time Magazine). And I bet, if we took a poll in the high school, that percentage would be even less (unless you were required to for government). Do we have a right, as busy high schoolers as we may be, to opt not to watch it?

“It is important for students as future voters to be exposed to the President,” said Government teacher Kirstin Sullivan. “The State of the Union is one way of being exposed.” She requires all of her students to watch and take notes.

The number of people who watched the State of the Union has decreased, from 52 million last year to 32 million this year. Sullivan stressed that even if you are busy (and if you might not agree with what Obama says), you still have a responsibility to watch it. This attitude isn’t being adopted, which might be due to the media, Sullivan thinks– and perhaps our generation’s lack of patience when it comes to investing time in something that’s not entertaining like basketball or “House of Cards” is.

“It is so easy with million of channels on cable to avoid it because [people might perceive] it as boring. But we have a responsibility,” Sullivan said.

However again, even with his small audience, President Obama addressed health care, bipartisanship, low income, and spoke to mainly the middle class.

“I would have like to have heard his thoughts on protecting social security,” Sullivan said. “It’s a rough issue… no one really wants to touch it.”

Obama, however, did address touchy issues such as gay marriage. It was the first time “lesbian” “transgender,” and “Instagram” were mentioned in a State of the Union. If it’s not important to pay attention to these urgent, evolving issues, I’m not sure what is.

After the State of the Union, our own Joni Ernst gave the Republican response, which was very poised and articulate according to some. Another student thought that she “talked to us like second graders.” And, to add an extra touch, she wore camo print pumps.

You can watch this year’s speech at or read it at

“If you want to complain, you need to be involved,” Sullivan said.