I watched the recent State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama with a critical eye and ear. What I wanted to hear from him was something that resonated with me. I am black. I am female. I am an over-55 senior citizen. I am an urban city dweller. Since his presidency, I have suffered from being unemployed to underemployed to barely making it employed.

I am a homeowner. I am struggling with ever-increasing taxes. I am taxed for property based on a value that is applicable only if I should sell my home but doesn’t take into account that many of us just want to live in our houses. I am taxed on my income. I am taxed on every aspect of my life with perhaps the exception of the air I breathe and if politicians could find a way to do that, they would.

As an opponent of illegal immigration, I cringed whenever the President brought up the subject and then unwittingly juxtaposed it with lamenting the plight of the long-term unemployed and those who struggle to live off minimum-wage jobs. For if, as alleged, those who are here illegally do the jobs Americans don’t want to do and are paid lower wages than a U.S. citizenship would demand, why are they so anxious for citizenship? If American citizens at the bottom of the economic rung are in dire need, what will 20 million more people, added legally to our populace, do who also are at the bottom of the rung? President Reagan promised a one-time-only amnesty, so we need to hold Obama and Congress to it. 

I wanted President Obama to address the issue of America’s returning citizens who are released from prison every day. If we have to see the face of a young person brought illegally to this country as the poster child for why we need immigration reform, then I want to see the face of Bennie Lee, a former high-ranking member of the Vice Lords who served his prison time and went on to earn a master’s degree but because of the laws of this country will always have to bear the burden of being an “ex-offender” while millions of illegal aliens have committed crimes and immigration reform would remove the “illegal” label with a minor penalty paid. 

 I wanted to hear about jobs. I wanted to hear something new, exciting and realistic. Where are the federal programs that can realistically put millions of Americans back to work? 

Considering the winter we are having, I would like to have heard about energy plans that involve solar/wind power to battle against our ever-increasing energy usage and high utility bills. The majority of the country is battling against an extremely horrible winter weather scenario, so how about a 50% reduction in any federal taxes that we are paying for energy — especially for gasoline?

The winter weather we’re having should have also inspired the President to think of spring. Because when it does come and all the snow melts, we can expect flooding beyond belief. Where will all that water go? Yet western states like Arizona, Nevada and California need water. How come we couldn’t have had an immediate plan to sell/send the snow to those areas? Or even better, why not a cross-country canal to send our melting snow and overflowing river tributaries to the dry areas? We have pipelines for oil but no plans for water. And it is predicted that the biggest fight for resources in the 21st century will be over water. 

There is an old saying that, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” It is time for black folks to begin to squeak.

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