University of Virginia Students React to State of the Union Address

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

Several people around Charlottesville, including students, reacted to the President's address on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2005 that covered controversial topics such as social security and the war in Iraq.

Less than two weeks ago, the President started his second term by outlining a plan for freedom and liberty. On Wednesday, the President spoke about that plan in detail.

Topic one was the war. While Mr. Bush did not offer a timetable for the pullout of American troops, he did talk about the strategy for success in Iraq, and that means helping the Iraqi people, and it's newly elected government take control and hold on to security.

Some students at the University of Virginia offered their commentary on the President's comments.

Ali Ahamad, a senior at UVa said, "I support the president and his policies on Iraq because I think it's pretty clear of what happened last Sunday. It's the terrorists versus the forces of democracy."

Michael Loew, a freshman at the university disagreed, by saying "...basically Mr. Bush has lots of goals that he really hasn't spent a lot of time on himself. It seems to me that a lot of focus groups have given in to his plans. I don't get the sense he knows how to reach these wonderful goals."

Topic two was social security as it heads into bankruptcy. The President warned the retirement system will go into the red by 2018, and urged Americans to make personal investment accounts for younger workers as one way to fix the problem-- despite the huge costs in set-up.

Meredith Ramsey, a sophomore at UVa said, "I support President Bush's social security policy because currently social security is going into the wrong direction, and will be going bankrupt soon enough especially with the baby-boomers' retirement coming up.

Another sophomore at the university, Alyssa Henning, disagreed by saying "We have a social security system that has been founded in the notion that the American people are going to look after each other, and today's generation of workers will take care of the people who have worked for years in the past. His integration of social security into private accounts for citizens undermines that."

For the next few months, and possibly more, social security and the war in Iraq will be a big struggle politically. Nonetheless, President Bush pledged to work with democrats.

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