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I've long stopped finding joy in self-flagellation, so I've decided to forego a live viewing of President Obama's final State of the Union address. The transcript will do just fine. But even though I'm inclined to dismiss the State of the Union as an act of political theater, I realize that sounds like a callous dismissal of the millions suffering as a direct result of U.S. imperialism, of the millions suffering as a direct result of domestic economic policy, and a dismissal of the millions suffering as a direct result of the bigotry inherent to capitalism.

Convention states that a response to the State of the Union might include a recital of facts and figures to support our position. I'm a little too pissed for that at the moment. Obama is a smart guy. I suspect he knows that, even with the best of intentions, he or anyone else sitting in the Oval Office will be unable to deliver peace and equality to the working class.

The problems here are systemic. The tragedy in this particular moment is the failure to use the attention of a State of the Union address to discuss the root of the problem (capitalism) and to offer a vision for the solution (socialism).

This could be an opportunity to discuss the effects of neoliberalism on immigration -- on how free trade drives workers from jobs in their home countries as their markets are flooded with highly-subsidized U.S. products, destroying families in the process.

This could be an opportunity to discuss the effects of neoliberalism on domestic workers, how multinationals destroy families by laying off U.S. workers to shift production to sweatshop labor.

This could be an opportunity to discuss how the U.S. taxpayer is financing the slaughter of thousands of innocent lives as our military paves the way for the capitalist's access to international resources.

This could be an opportunity to discuss the continued genocide of the indigenous peoples of the United States and begin an honest discussion about reparations.

This could be an opportunity to discuss the slaughter of black lives at the hands of taxpayer-financed law enforcement.

This could be a discussion about how Washington D.C.'s approach to the climate change nightmare will fall far short of delivering on any sort of
promise to save the planet.

This could be an opportunity to start a discussion about capitalism's need to accumulate on a planet with finite resources, and how anything short of system change will ensure calamity.

This could be an opportunity to discuss the use of taxpayer monies to support an apartheid state in Israel.

This could be an opportunity to discuss the fate of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, both sitting in jail for decades, both failed by a racist legal system. And about that justice system, this could be an opportunity to discuss the privatization of the prison system, another fine feature of capitalism.

Obama states "We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job."

Where exactly are these good-paying jobs?

I just got back from a visit to my hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania, and I imagine many there are holding back tears with laughter at such a proclamation.

Good-paying jobs? Even if we pretended that these things exist, a "good-paying job" is not enough to guarantee a decent life when taking into account the costs of healthcare and education.

Privatized healthcare, privatized education, privatized prison systems ... some are saying the system is failing. The truth is this system is working exactly as designed.

Mr. President governs over a country of indentured servants. Mr. President governs a country that is annihilating the planet and its ecosystems.

If we are somehow going to see an end to the ruse of the State of the Union, I believe it will be because the people will have come together to say "we just can't take it anymore."

We are all hurting. I don't know about you, but I'd like to heal. I imagine you would as well. I can only suggest, in this moment, that you take a peek at what socialism is all about. In socialism, I think you will find that together we can destroy the tumor causing the pain.

My running mate, Angela Nicole Walker, and I believe that the people are going to lead this effort. If you'd like to learn a bit more about the Soltysik/Walker 2016 Campaign, please visit http://www.rev16.us/.

In solidarity,

Mimi Soltysik & the Socialist Party USA's Soltysik/Walker 2016 Campaign