Whether you stand up to applaud Bush’s State of the Union speech, or stubbornly sit with crossed arms of opposition, the president’s speech addressed some important issues for our generation. Tuesday’s speech was a chance for Bush to address growing concerns about our foreign policy, the war in Iraq and rising energy costs.

    If any of us were hoping that our endeavors in the Middle East were drawing to a close, the president dashed those hopes. He shunned isolationism by crediting the September 11 attacks to our failure to preemptively answer terrorism at its root in a country thousands of miles away.

    He also took some time to respond to naysayers in Congress, stating that “hindsight alone is not wisdom, and second-guessing is not a strategy.”

    On the home-front, Bush spoke of our “addiction to oil,” a sharp turn in dialogue from earlier speeches. This was definitely refreshing to hear, seeing as how some of us pour a whole day’s wages into our gas tank in one filling.

    Bush’s talk about turning to alternative fuels such as corn ethanol came on the same day that Exxon Mobil Co. reported a yearly profit of $36 billion for 2005, the largest yearly profit of any U.S. company ever.

    We hope the 22 percent increase in clean fuel research he announced will one day quell our post gas-station blues.

    The president’s commitment to double the federal government’s support for new technology research should catch the attention of research scientists here at UTSA. Our university has been very vocal about its goal to become a tier one research facility. This initiative may bring that goal closer to reality.

    Math and science classes were also on the list of areas to be improved. Bush drew a direct correlation between students’ abilities in math and science and the country’s competitiveness in the world arena.

    At this university we have seen this problem in the first semester freshmen who struggle with introductory math and science courses.

    It is unpleasant to see a student get discouraged and drop out of school because they were not prepared in high school for the rigors of college math. And it doesn’t help a struggling student when he/she has to spend three times the tuition going through remedial math classes just to get up to speed and take college algebra.

    This year’s State of the Union fell on critical, as well as hopeful ears. But no matter what side of the Congressional Chamber you could have put yourself on, it is important for us to realize that the direction of our country is joined to the direction of our university.

    With a nation strong in influence throughout the world and much of that influence about to be in our hands as college graduates, it is important that we keep our fingers on the pulse of what direction our country is going.

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