Last year, Chicagoans were basking in the glow of our new, hometown president: Barack Obama. With our "Hope" t-shirts on and "Change" bumper stickers, we were ready to watch our South Side guy change the world. A year later, with the recession still hammering the middle class and health care seemingly out the window, we watched with baited breath as Obama gave his first State of the Union Address. Does Chicago still think our most famous White Sox fan has what it takes to make real change?
Here is what some locals had to say:
Andy Thayer, Chicago LGBT activist and co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network tells ChicagoPride.com: "Tonight President Obama reiterated his pledge to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' but as many bloggers have noted, he could have issued a stop/loss order to stop the anti-gay purges on Day 1 when he had the political capital to do it. Now, when he's politically considerably weaker, with double-digit unemployment, his health insurance plan withering and Democratic congressmen running for political cover, he has reiterated this pledge, this time saying he'll do it this year...President Obama tonight noted that 'We face a deficit of trust.' What he failed to note was that with broken promises and proposals like 'separate but equal,' is it any wonder?"
Chicago blogger Blair Fabian wrote this after Obama's speech: "Nothing has changed y'all. Obama is the same dude fighting the same fight. Stop picking him apart and do what you should do to make this country better. Help out people with less than you. Be patient. Jobs don't come overnight. This place is a mess. It'll take a while to fix. He's setting the foundation for something we can hopefully upkeep."
Local blogger Jeff Ramone voiced his opinion on Twitter: "Love that he called out GOP who have no solutions, only 'NO.' Lotta good stuff, but he needs to turn words into action."
Chicago writer and poet Justin Sherwood was not so impressed. He tweeted: "[The State of the Union Address] was an adjustment of expectations, a list of fairly conservative policy positions, and an investment in optimism."
Chicagoan Kate Lowry had this to say via Twitter: "Positive: Repealing DADT, withdrawing from Iraq, equal pay for equal work (can you believe this has to be discussed?) Immediate GOP opposition to DADT repeal is disheartening, but talk of jobs, budgets, & a transparent government scream optimism."
Chicago resident Brian Norton wrote to HuffPost Chicago: "I was not so much impressed with the content as I was with the President's tone. It was both predictable and necessary that the speech focus on domestic economic issues. I had, however, expected him to be a bit less bold in light of rising criticisms and dipping poll numbers. Instead, he called out congress on its unconscionable inertia and the lack of resolve shown in the Senate democrats, in particular...I appreciated that despite all the pragmatic issues like jobs and trade that absolutely needed to be addressed, he still felt inclined to insert the statement about eliminating DADT. I'm anxious to see how that goes."
NBC Chicago interviewed several Chicagoans at the White Palace Grill Thursday morning about their thoughts on the speech. Watch their reactions here:
What did you think of Obama's first State of the Union Address? Do you still think change is possible? Comment below and tell us what you think.
Read what some Huffington Post bloggers thought about the speech here.