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Obama speaks of achievements, criticizes Republican rhetoric of fear

Miriam Burgués/// In his 58-minute long State of the Union address Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama lived up to his promise of a “non-traditional” speech and spoke of the achievements of his seven years in office and also about the country’s future.


He said the progress made by the country in the last seven years, including the recovery of the economy, the health care reform and legalization of same-sex marriages, is a “result of choices we make together.”

He also lashed out at the Republicans’ rhetoric of fear and urged citizens to fight for a better political system.

“Will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, turning against each other as a people? Or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, in what we stand for, and the incredible things we can do together?”

Insulting Muslims will not make the country safer and “betrays who we are,” said Obama, in a clear reference to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States in response to the threat from jihadist terrorism.

The president stressed the need to reject any politics “that targets people because of race or religion,” saying the world’s respect for the country arose from its values of diversity and openness.

The president also noted that too many Americans felt their “voices and actions didn’t matter,” adding, “It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency – that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better.”

“If we want a better politics, it’s not enough just to change a congressman or change a senator or even change a president. We have to change the system to reflect our better selves,” Obama urged.

The address seemed to have been designed to convince Americans to elect another Democrat to the White House to replace him in January 2017 and the only initiative the president announced during his speech was a new national effort to cure cancer “once and for all.”

The president also sought to appease those who view the fight against the Islamic State, or IS, as “World War III” saying the jihadist group did not threaten the country’s national existence.

He did admit, however, that the Al Qaida and the IS “pose a direct threat to our people” because “they use the Internet to poison the minds of individuals inside our country” and “their actions undermine and destabilize our allies.”

Obama also counted the fight against climate change among his accomplishments and promised to push to change the way the country manages its oil and coal resources.

He referred to the rapprochement with Cuba and asked the Congress to “recognize that the Cold War is over” and lift the economic embargo on the island.

Obama also said he hoped to work together with the Republicans on “bipartisan priorities” including criminal justice reform and asked them to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

bama said he will continue to fight to reform the “broken” immigration system, protect citizens from gun violence and try to shut down the “expensive, unnecessary” prison at Guantanamo.

January 13, 2016, EFE/Practica Español

Grammar notes: review of the Spanish verb “tratar”, past tense

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