On Tuesday, March 1st, President Biden addressed the people of America in the annual State of the Union speech. By the next day, his presidential approval rating of 38% saw a 9% increase to 47%. This is a historically large jump, influenced by the overall positive feedback from the American people and bipartisan support. In the speech, just over an hour and ten minutes long, he covered a vast span of topics. These varied from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, to lowering healthcare costs, to womens and LGBTQ+ rights, to inflation, and creating jobs in America.
President Biden made it very clear throughout several points in his speech that America stands with Ukraine in this war. Though America will be aiding Ukraine by sending supplies, weapons, and other donations, Biden stated that no American military will be sent to Ukraine. Calling out Putin for his “menacing ways,” Biden emphasized the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people, and the unity of the European Union.
“Six days ago, Putin sought to shake the very foundations of a free world, thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated. He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world will roll over. Instead, he met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined — he met Ukrainian people.”
President Biden announced that air travel was to be completely cut off between America and Russia, going in both directions. Since this announcement, many other American companies have withdrawn their Russian business connections, such as Starbucks, Visa, and Netflix.
Biden emphasized in his address was the need for affordable healthcare for all. He stated that no American should have to fear for their health simply because they cannot afford medication. Insulin and prescription drugs were major examples of the medications that need to be made more affordable by pharmaceutical companies. He also highlighted healthcare for women, specifically maternal healthcare. He mentioned the danger of the rulings of Roe Vs. Wade being held at threat, stating “If we want to go forwards and not backwards, (…) preserve women’s rights to choose.” Prioritizing equal healthcare for LGBTQ+ Americans was also mentioned, as Biden brought up passing the Bi-Partisan Equality Act, an law that prevents discrimination to people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.
“There has been an onslaught of state laws threatening the health and safetly of transgender Americans and their families. It is simply wrong. A message to the transgender youth of America: I’ll always have your back as your president, so you can be yourself and reach your god-given potential.”
Regarding COVID-19, Biden expressed his gratitude to the American people for staying strong and cooperating throughout the pandemic. Biden raised excitement for the upcoming lifting of mask mandates, saying that most of the country will finally be able to go mask-free. He encouraged to continue vaccinating America, and increasing access and affordability to COVID-19 treatment.
“We will no longer just accept living with COVID-19, we will continue to combat the disease, as we do with other viruses. And because this virus mutates and spreads, we have to stay on guard.”
An important change Biden wants to make is increasing the amount of American made infrastructure. He emphasized the importance of buying American made products, and increasing jobs, as well as investing in technological improvements for American factories. He connected this to possible methods of decreasing price inflation, which has been directly and indirectly impacting the lives of millions of Americans. In terms of inflation, Biden said, “Lower your costs, not your wages.”
A final topic Biden covered in his State of the Union Address was an issue that presidents of past generations did not have to deal with: social media. He emphasized internet safety and privacy, especially for America’s youth.
“We must hold social media platforms accountable for the national experiment they’re conducting on our children for profit,” Biden said. “It’s time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children.”
President Biden has received a large amount of praise from the American people for this State of the Union Address. At one point in the speech, the audience even responded by chanting, “USA, USA”, a proud moment for a president. To hear everything Biden covered in this speech, the full video can be accessed on the White House official website. https://www.whitehouse.gov/state-of-the-union-2022/