Tuesday was a big night for Michiganders.

Governor Rick Snyder gave his Michigan State of the State Address at 7:00 PM and President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union Address at 9:00 PM.

So for those of you who follow me, you got more than the usual amount of political opinions because the two addresses landed on the same night.

At first I was skeptical about hem being on the same night. However it ended up being more interesting and comprehensive for me. It was quite intriguing to hear the two speeches the same night. And to compare the two agendas of #POTUS and Governor Snyder was even more fascinating.

As every city, state or national address, there was the boasting of and plans for economic growth and sustainability, call for more consistent fiscal responsibility and the traditional recognition of those who serve in our armed forces. They both also pointed out that it is the PEOPLE that government needs to address and understand. (Now whether or not their plans follow this point is a bit different, but they at least acknowledged it). Also, for this year, community colleges got a bump in support from both the #MISOTS15 and #SOTU which was nice to see (Woot woot higher education!).

However, beyond those few points, the addresses were pretty different. From the tone, delivery and even general context Governor Snyder and President Obama were on two different pages.

I think the most significant difference, for me, was addressing or lack of addressing civil rights.

In the Michigan State of the State, Snyder gave civil rights a wide berth. He graciously allotted a single line on his stance with any civil rights issue:

“The other thing I call for is a continuation of the dialogue and discussion on Elliott-Larsen and I appreciate the prior discussions that were had, but let’s keep up that dialogue and let’s show that we can deal with the issues of discrimination in our state.” ~Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan State of the State 2015

(Actually it was a sentence and a half, because he said “thank you” after this line).

In the State of the Union, Obama directly addressed civil rights issues through out the address including; equal pay for women, equal voting rights and voting accessibility, same-sex marriage, and briefly touched on Fergusson and New York. One of the more popular lines of his speech addressing civil rights was:

“That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.” ~President Barack Obama, State of the Union 2015

Now both addresses lacked the traditional substantive plans and specific for the coming year, but then again it’s only a one hour address so I can’t expect their entire agenda or plan LOL. However, in my humble opinion, the content and context of their addresses can give more insight to their agendas than the actual words said in their speeches.

Regardless of the speeches and what they may or may not have said in them, civil rights will have a front row seat one way or another in the coming year and it’ll be interesting to see how Michigan’s strong economic and low civil rights agenda will align and execute in contrast or partnership with Obama’s moderate economic and strong civil rights agenda. I’m excited for the upcoming year and to see how things unfold.

And those are my thoughts on the #MISOTS15 and #SOTU. Whether you agree or not with me, I hope you watched one or both of the addresses and garnered your own opinions and thoughts! It’s the only way that we as a people can move our society forward, by educating ourselves and voicing our needs and thoughts, not only during election time but all the time.

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!


Snyder, Rick (2015). Michigan State of the State Address. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/snyder/2015_Michigan_SOTS_Transcript_479562_7.pdf

Obama, Barack (2015). State of the Union Address. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/20/remarks-president-state-union-address-january-20-2015

Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: