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Editorial: Continuing the call to move forward

President Barack Obama continues to try to chart a national discourse through hostile territory.

That was evident with the State of the Union address for 2014, his fifth such speech, as he focused on where the country is now and where it has to go. Also, as he has done with every State of the Union, Obama extended his hand to Republicans, asking them to partner when it comes to finding answers for the nation:

“Now, as president, I’m committed to making Washington work better, and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here. And I believe most of you are, too. ... in the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want, for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.

“And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all, the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead in America.”

Obviously it is too soon to see if Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, are willing to take up the president’s challenge to move the nation forward. Based upon the last five years of standoffs and gridlock within our legislative branch of the federal government, the prospect isn’t good.

The president knows this and that’s why he announced that plans to use his office and the power of executive order.

“... what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you.

“But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Radical? Unconstitutional? Hardly. Instead, it’s the president saying he will be using all avenues to see that the United States does not fall behind.

And if anyone needed a reminder of the urgency of this situation, Obama said this, “The point is, there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments and are moving this country forward. They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That’s what drew our forebears here. It’s how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest automaker. How the son of a barkeeper is speaker of the House. How the son of a single mom can be president of the greatest nation on Earth.”

The message is still one of hope, delivered in a measured and calm approach.

Let’s see who is willing to listen.

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