Expectations From State Of The Union

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Youth Radio's King Anyi Howell says he has more than hope for the president's first State of the Union address. He has expectations, big ones, for Wednesday's address.


Finally, we thought we'd leave the experts and Washington. Youth Radio's King Anyi Howell lives in Los Angeles. Like many young black men, he's paid extra attention to President Obama's first year in office. And he'll be paying even closer attention tonight.

Mr. KING ANYI HOWELL (Youth Radio): After a full year of presidency, tonight is Barack Obama's chance to address the issues that are keeping Americans up at night, besides Conan O'Brien reruns.

I'll be tuning in from a local cafe, drinking something that has absolutely nothing to do with tea or tea parties, waiting for the president to drop some wisdom, something to ease my stress about the direction in which our county is heading.

You remember a year ago when 52.9 percent of Americans felt that our county's first black president was our white knight? People said that he brought the nation together. And those of us who attended the inauguration in D.C. last year might remember being crammed together. We froze our collective buns off that morning because we believed Obama possessed that certain something. The something that would lead millions of unemployed Americans to the light at the end of the tunnel, as opposed to leading us into the light of an oncoming too-big-to-fail bailout locomotive.

But a year later, no one knows if the bottom of our great recession is in sight. We're still fighting two wars abroad. And what the heck happened to health care for all Americans?

I'm uninsured because insurance costs too much. I think the country could benefit from universal coverage, but only if it's well managed. If public health care is run as marvelously as some of our other institutions, like public schools, I'll take my chances with death.

I'm also part of the generation of young people who were instrumental in ushering the president into the presidency. Obama called us too important to fail. And tonight I'd like him to do something most presidents haven't done and actually speak to us. These times are the toughest my age group has ever seen, and we'd like to know exactly what he's going to do about it and how we can help.

And finally, I want President Obama to address a different war on terror, the terror that's inside each of us who struggle to pay the bills or care for our kids. Sure, I want a plan of action, but he might have to do one better and holla at us. Mr. President, inspire me.

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BRAND: That's King Anyi Howell of Youth Radio. And you can listen to the president's State of the Union speech at 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific on many NPR stations and at NPR.org.

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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