Newsflash: I am not a politician. I also don't play one on television, and believe it or not, I don't lecture my friends on their political beliefs either.

See, I'm just like you.

However, I did my civic duty and watched President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday. I'm a naturally curious person and, quite frankly, speeches such as the State of the Union, whether you are a Democrat or Republican, affect your daily life.

Face it, the most powerful man in America gave a speech on his goals for the next 12 months — it matters.

From his mouth to my brain, here are the three things that stuck out most to me — a 20-something getting ready to graduate college and set out into the real world:

Why can't we all get along?

In layman's terms, this was a theme for a portion of the speech. While he wasn't talking about sharing toys and sitting together at lunch, Obama's point highlights something that has increasingly become more of a problem as the years pass. Political parties are too concerned with "gotcha moments," as the President put it, rather than solving problems. How are we supposed to trust the people we elect — yes, Democrats AND Republicans — if they can't even work together and agree?

I don't have any faith in the ability of Congress to improve on this, but at least maybe now the discussion is being had in Washington.

The best thing for both parties — and more important, this country — is to work together, just as they are elected to do.

But what about jobs?

As somebody who is looking for a job, this is crucial.

The overall theme of the speech was Obama reaching out to the middle class. With jobs, the president noted that the job growth was the best since 1999. For me, and the rest of us college students, this is obviously good.

Obama pushing for workers to be given seven paid sick days per year is also an interesting proposal.

Free community college?

As I discussed last week, I like the idea of free community college — however, I am skeptical of how it would be paid for and how it would operate. It's great to say that college is free, but the logistics needed to be explained.

The plan has been released and those students who maintain a 2.5 grade-point average and attend college at least half the time would get their community college paid for. It has been reported that 75 percent has been paid for by the federal government and 25 percent by the states.

I cannot imagine this proposal ever passing Congress. I love the idea, but in my perfect world this would go back to the drawing board to find a better bipartisan solution.


Ryan Gillespie is the Editor-in-Chief at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @rgillespieCFF or email him at

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