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The State of the Union as Rorschach Test
Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 70 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers. FINS - Wall Street Journal, mentioned that Chopra’s book, The Soul of Leadership, as one of five best business books to read for your career. Chopra is an Adjunct Professor of Executive Programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where he teaches the course, The Soul of Leadership.

It was surprising how President Obama's State of the Union speech went down. Immediately afterwards, television pundits offered clashing descriptions: prosaic, bread and butter, Clinton-like, an extension of the liberal agenda outlined in the Inaugural Address, uplifting, aggressive, and so on. More than many Presidents, Obama has become a lighthouse and a lightning rod at the same time. He is the object of projection from all sides.

What I heard was something really unusual: inspiring sobriety. The speech laid out an agenda that was far from leftist. It was a considered assessment of social needs, postponed priorities, and a difficult future. In this regard Obama departed from FDR, who was struggling to restructure a collapsed landscape, from JFK, who was launching a new era of power, and from Bill Clinton, whose laundry lists of programs came at a time of rising prosperity.

Obama spoke to an anxious nation by sounding upbeat and optimistic. He has little chance of getting much legislation passed. In the face of bitter partisanship even over pro forma matters like getting his cabinet appointed, he decided not to cloak himself as the happy warrior. He was more like the ideal citizen, a responsible patriot who wants the best for everyone.

It's amazing that the speech didn't exude discouragement. In a different vein, it could have come from Cassandra, the princess of Troy who was doomed to know the future but never to be believed. Every point that the President made, if enacted, would benefit all of us. He is intelligent, adult, informed, far-seeing, and willing to embrace both sides of the aisle. He knows better than anyone else how irrational, ill-tempered, and reactionary the opposition is. But he chose his tone of inspiring sobriety for a good reason. America won't move forward until everyone comes to their senses.

The Republican response, delivered by Sen. Marco Rubio, was a classic case of burying your head in the sand. With widespread disgust at Congress, a new generation of voters that wants government to make a difference, a resounding defeat last November, and talk of Republicans rethinking their message-- none of that mattered. Rubio smoothly delivered the same message that came from the Republicans a month into Obama's first administration: We are the party of no.

Obama will no doubt surprise us by how much he achieves against this background of opposition, division, and angst. There is talk that the Senate is quietly working out deals on the toughest problems that face us. But the real issue comes down to that now familiar phrase, the tipping point. The country has probably reached one. The reactionary right is on its way out. But they hold enough power and have indoctrinated enough people that getting off in a new direction will be painfully slow. Obama will have to use all his gifts to push the pedal and convince Americans that there is dawn rising over the next hill.

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Well said, as usual. I`m amazed by the number of people who don`t see it this way. Karma.
Yes - February 24, 2013
The problem I have is that Obama makes these lofty speeches and later you find out he does not do what he says and I do not trust either party to let the government have so much contol. Government should be limited at the federal level and let the states run their governments.
Tess - February 23, 2013
pathros,\nObama has never been bi-partisan, it`s his way only. Wake up.
knitnpurl - February 23, 2013
Well this is the fall of a system, eventually very soon;ILLUSION OF capitalism, politics, school system, police, (how we thing and invision the world) will diseapper, to let people be free from anything.\nMaybe with some struggle.\nBut peace and love will blossom to the mist of light and happyness..
eric jouis - February 22, 2013
President Obama tried to be bi-partisan the first four years, bending over backwards to the republicans who don`t like him being President or the Senate being democratically run. These next four years will be more democratically run from the White House and we will take back the house of representatives in 2014 because of right-wing stupidity.
pathros - February 19, 2013
I wrote this in 2007: Just how comfortable are you with being continually programmed, and thus exploited, by self-serving, hierarchy climbing, industrial/financial/political/religious scam artists? Have you yet recognized the influence their cynicism has had upon your values, your culture, the workings of your government, and your relationships with your fellow humans and other beings? Personally, I am grateful knowing that some of us are extremely uncomfortable, to say the least, with this perverse turn about of the true and lasting values, to which many of us were introduced when growing up. We have discovered, or have always known, that these values abide in our loving hearts, are addressed by conscience, and demand our allegiance.\n If, with patience, compassion, and determination, we remain attentive and intent on taking our stand on truth in our roles as tenant-caretakers, nothing will prevent heart after heart, and thus the world itself, from undergoing a glorious transformation.
Ron Greenstein - February 18, 2013
the screen is blank,i can`t read it,where else can i see it??\n\nregards\npaddy.
paddy - February 18, 2013
It` s refreshing to hear someone of Dr Chopra`s importance \n voice my own thoughts on this subject. \nI find my life, at this point in time, rather \nfrightening. My husband is recently retired on \na small pension and I have a $70/week \nPT job and my social security. We have \ntremendous debts that we managed to whittle\nDown to about $15,000 but at 68 and 66 with\nThe small income we have and with \nThe necessities of home and food and\nOther every-life expenses.. We are already\nStruggling and now we find out that we\nHave an extra $400 to pay in Federal \nTaxes. What are we to do? We have both \nDesperately been trying to find jobs.. For over\nA year now..we`re sure it is age discrimination,\nAlthough we cannot prove it.
Meg Barr - February 17, 2013