President Obama released a preview video of his State of the Union address, which many have called a blueprint for his reelection campaign message. It goes like this: the "central focus" of his Presidency is rebuilding the economy, and this is a "make or break moment for the middle class."
Indeed, if middle class Americans are doing substantially and measurably better in November than they were in January, 2009 (an admittedly low bar), Obama should do very well. And yet, Mitt Romney has also previewed what he hopes will be his counter-argument to Obama. He delivered it during his New Hampshire primary victory speech, and it went like this: "This President wakes up every morning, looks out across America and is proud to announce, "It could be worse." It could be worse? Is that what it means to be an American? It could be worse?"
We'll let the politicians fight this one out over the next 10 or so months. The debate about the nature of our economic recovery is certainly an important one to have, and Big Think will keep a close watch on it. And yet, we invite a broader discussion about the state of the union that will call into question the credibility of many aspects of our political system as well as feature nuanced perspectives from those who do not easily fit into the opposing camps of our two-party system.
To that end, Big Think has sought out two unique voices to offer their take on the state of the union. Here's who they are:
Liberty Belle, aka Keli Carender, was organizing Tea Party protests before there was a Tea Party, and caused a stir by confronting Democratic Congressman Norm Dicks of Washington over healthcare legislation. Carender writes the blog Redistributing Knowledge, which is coming soon to Big Think. In The State of Our Rebellious Union, Carender argues that Americans are basically hard wired to rebel against our government, and that is a very good thing.
Playwright and political blogger Eric Sanders is a vocal supporter of the Occupy Movement – a nuanced, intelligent voice amid the slogans and propaganda that often dominate political discourse. In Reformation Politics: The Occupied State of the Union, Eric imagines an alternate, progressive version of the State of the Union address – one that proposes sweeping structural changes to bring our nation closer to its original promise of government by the people, for the people.
Jason Gots contributed to this report.
Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter: @DanielHonan