State of the Union

President Bush gave a State of the Union speech that could easily be misconstrued as rhetoric from a re-election campaign pulpit.

Unfortunately, by focusing on platform issues and defending his military actions, the President failed to demonstrate a clear vision of leadership. It seems evident he is overly concerned that his military engagement in Iraq is unsatisfactory and likely unwarranted, and consequently the crucial domestic issues (civil rights, economic recovery and health care) are ignored.

As a result of the PATRIOT Act, our telephones and electronic communications were made susceptible to roving wiretaps. While there are provisions of the act that help law enforcement, it is unacceptable that our civil liberties and right to privacy can be so violated. President Bush would strongly like to see the PATRIOT Act renewed before it expires in 2005, but Americans should ask themselves how safe they feel with a law that allows us to detain over 600 “unlawful combatants” at Guantanamo Bay without any legal recourse. While President Bush is taking action here, he is ignoring our civil liberties in the process.

It is encouraging that Bush wants to keep taxes low by returning a portion of our taxed money, it is incongruous that we can do this while a 4 percent increase in discretionary spending is allowed. Coming from a year with more than a 12% increase in overall discretionary spending, Bush better be very clear on how he plans to reign in this spending frenzy. Our financial solvency is important, but we can’t do this while we continue to fund pork and make significant increases for domestic programs. His budget will be an important milestone, but since he has been unable to restrain discretionary spending on any of his previous budgets it seems unlikely that it will have any standing significance.

Health care is being ignored almost entirely by the President, he spent his time congratulating Congress for passing legislation in this area and provided no leadership.

Finally, his concern about the sanctity of marriage is not something to consider as an amendment for the constitution. It is not an inalienable right that marriage must be a union between a man and a woman, while it is acceptable that laws can be passed in this regard it is totally unacceptable that this should be proposed for amendment.