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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


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Biden Comes Out Strong at 2024 State of the Union

On March 7, President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress including the House and Senate to discuss the country’s condition and the most pressing issues in government. Every cabinet member was in attendance, except one. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was this year’s Designated Survivor, in the event that a catastrophe occurs at the Capitol, Cardona would be placed in the position of President of the United States.
Shivu Sathe
Every year, one cabinet member is selected as the Designated Survivor to ensure the government will remain functioning in case every other member of the line of succession is incapacitated during the State of the Union.

The State of the Union is one of the most highly anticipated political speeches every year. The members of the House and Senate are addressed together by the President to discuss the political climate and any pressing matters. President Joe Biden held his third speech this year and touched on many pressing matters, while also bringing up pressing matters for voters, with the election being held this fall. 

What is the State of the Union? And why do we have a Designated Survivor? 

The State of the Union, SOTU, is an annual event in January or February where the sitting president has the opportunity to express their view of what the United States looks like, and what is coming for it. The Constitution requires the president to address Congress on the condition of the nation in Article II. As the Constitution puts it, the president must “give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” 

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Traditionally, the president will invite civilians who align with topics that will be discussed in the speech, or individuals who embody the ideals of the administration. This year, President Biden invited 20 people to sit with First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Douglass Emhoff. 

Because the SOTU is such a massive and publicized event involving every member of the line of succession, certain precautions need to be taken. The Designated Survivor is a member of the Presidential Cabinet who is placed in an undisclosed location to remain safe in the event of a mass casualty event at the Capitol. “If we were to take a look at the State of the Union, and the cabinet members, one of them would be missing. That is who the Designated Survivor is,” senior Jag Maddipatla said. “They don’t announce where they’re placed, or who it is [until after the fact].” 

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was the selected cabinet member for this year’s speech. Cardona is 16th in the line of succession and has been with the Biden administration. “I think a teacher should run the country,” history teacher Tori Webb said. “I thought it was a good pick, even though I am certainly biased being an educator myself, but I do think it is always interesting and it is ‘who draws the short straw’ as to who it’s going to be. But we need education to run this country so if something did happen and he ended up being president, it sounds good to me. Educator at the wheel, I like it.”

What did Biden address?

President Biden began his speech by stating that he wanted to “wake up this Congress and alert the American people that this is no ordinary moment.” He sure was right about that. For the first time since 1956, there will be a rematch between a former president and the current one. This election’s front runners are former President Donald Trump and current President Biden. In his speech, Biden made sure to address “his predecessor,” as he called him, never once saying his name, and criticize his actions in the past, including the Jan. 6 attacks for which the trials are ongoing. “In the news and the media, one of the big things you hear is ‘it was a campaign speech,’ but I think you have to look at it from Biden’s perspective. He has been put in a really unique position where he is facing [off] against an ex-president, which is unprecedented, and he is also facing a divided congress,” senior Arnav Gupta said. “[However,] since it is an election year, the line between [Biden] campaigning and him saying what the State of the Union will be in the next one year, or four years, was very blurred overall.” 

In his speech, Biden addressed both domestic and international issues. He opened with a call for support in Ukraine, urging Congress to pass the bipartisan bill that would help send aid to fighters. Towards the latter half of the speech, support for Gazans was urged, but no immediate and permanent ceasefire was mentioned, a position the government has since changed in the United Nations Security Council. 

Domestically, many party front-running issues were highlighted. While the word abortion was not explicitly mentioned, he ‘pledged to enshrine’ Roe and asked Americans to “send [him] a Congress that supports the right to choose.” He furthered his point with two key guests, Kate Cox, who was forced to travel across states to get an abortion after her fetus was diagnosed with a fatal illness, and Latorya Beasley, who had to stop her IVF treatments after the Supreme Court ruled that frozen eggs were considered children. 

Biden also brought a young girl named Jazmin Cazares, whose 9-year-old sister Jackie was killed during a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, to sit in the box as he discussed the dire situation in the United States regarding gun laws. He called for assault weapon bans, increased background checks, and stronger legislation to curb gun violence. 

Finally, an issue of focus as the election steadily approaches: the matter of Biden’s age. Many Americans and legislators, both from his party and the opposing party have brought up concerns about his old age. “I think he needed to come in hot, really get the basics cited and get the Democratic party within Congress excited and motivated, challenge them to get legislation passed, affecting various sectors of US economy, society, etcetera,” Webb said. “[He needed to] crack a few jokes, maybe bring out the dark Brandon that we have heard about on social media. I think he did a positive job of tackling [the critique of his age] head-on.”

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About the Contributor
Shivu Sathe
Shivu Sathe, News Editor
Shivu Sathe is a valued member of staff, always fast and efficient when it comes to editing articles in her role as News Editor. She’s always liked writing, so it was no surprise that she found a home in newspaper and journalism. Although she’s already beginning to prepare for her life as a college student, she enjoys staying active and up to date in terms of what’s going on around Rock Ridge as part of The Blaze.

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    Pankaj MehtaApr 11, 2024 at 2:40 am

    Excellent analysis of the important event in US- nice taken up each and every issue,
    To cover this event , it needs lot of study and General Knowladge
    Keep it up
    Best of Luck
    Achieve your Goal – GOD Bless you and your Family – Regards