My favorite parts of the State of the Union address

President Obama, on the importance of making education a priority:

That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.  We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

I agree. There are far too many places in this country where a “culture of ignorance” is pervasively embraced. Too many people in the U.S. view being educated as undesirable and elitist. It’s unfortunate and self-destructive, as individuals and as a nation. Government can’t change this – it’s learned at home.

On improving our travel infrastructure:

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down.

I would love to have a non-Amtrak, non-airplane, non-automobile alternative to traveling with a two-year-old from Kentucky to Utah to visit family.

On the tax code:

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.

On political polarization and conflict:

And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.

Yes, but I think it’s tempting to try to excuse away our incivility and immaturity in public discourse in this way. Just because we’d rather be here than anywhere else doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility to treat each other as adults and attempt to heighten the level of our public discourse.

All in all, I thought it was a good speech. I especially liked the first half. I thought that President Obama had a number of proposals concerning education and infrastructure that merit serious consideration.

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