Students share thoughts on State of the Union address

President Joe Biden delivered the annual State of the Union speech March 7, covering national issues such as inflation and the war in Gaza. AP U.S. History teacher Athena Pietrzak said he needed to put on a strong performance.

“Do I agree with everything he said?” Pietrzak said. “No, no I don’t. I think that half of the things he said were embellished in some way, but that’s just politics. However, I think that he needed to do well for the sake of his campaign, and he did exactly that.”

The State of the Union is an address given to Congress to inform them about what is happening in the country. Historically, it lists the accomplishments of the previous year while also addressing current or potential issues. Biden discussed events such as the Russo-Ukrainian War as having massive importance to the nation, but senior Josiah Falls said he felt as though there were larger problems at hand.

“[The] main issues in the USA are immigration, inflation [and] unemployment rates,” Falls said. “In previous years, it would’ve been more focused on taxes and benefits, but politics have shifted in a way that is unexpected. [More] secondary issues are Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education and the debate surrounding federal funding. [The] final issues are [in vitro fertilization] and fears of political violence.”

Falls also said that while political violence is an important factor, as it is a major dividing point within the political parties, it is not the most pressing problem the nation has to face. Sophomore Kellyn Hoffmann agreed with his statement, saying that the largest issue the United States has to face is the election candidates themselves.

“This country has issues,” Hoffmann said. “We have problems like inflation and unemployment and about a million other things. But how are any of these [candidates] going to help? Both of these guys belong in a geriatric ward — and one of them belongs in prison and possibly an asylum. And, before Nikki Haley pulled out, we had a choice who was borderline psychotic. Frankly, I don’t trust any of these people to get us out of this mess.”

Falls said he had similar concerns and thinks that they are fairly common within the American people.

“Based on recent events, many people doubt the capabilities of Biden as a candidate, as evidenced by the amount of uncommitted votes within the Democratic primary in places such as Michigan,” Falls said. “This places the former president Donald Trump in what looks like currently an advantageous lead that shows that, if polling remains static, it would lead to a victory for Donald Trump in November. For many, this poses an issue, as he has often had unstable rhetoric, causing voters to question whether his rhetoric is serious or whether his policy will remain similar to it was from the years 2016 to 2019. This is not helped whenever Donald Trump says things such as ‘[he will be] a dictator on day one.’”

Hoffmann also said she thought that the president mentioned some key problems, but that without action, his points held little weight.

“The whole thing in Gaza is a really big issue,” Hoffmann said. “The war in Ukraine, inflation, all of that is really important, and [President] Biden did a good job of showing that. However, I think that to face any of that, we need someone in office that we can actually trust to deal with that, and that’s the biggest problem we need to fix right now.”


By Hannah Jones