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The State of the Union, edited down to 375 words

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Brian Resnick is Vox’s science and health editor, and is the co-creator of Unexplainable, Vox's podcast about unanswered questions in science. Previously, Brian was a reporter at Vox and at National Journal.

President Obama's State of the Union came in at around 5,400 words. That's too long. Here's a version we edited and abridged.

I’m going make this short. Instead of a wish list, I'm going to ask four questions of the next president. (Spoiler: I have the answers!)

1) How can we make the economy better?

First, education. Provide two years of free community college for every responsible student. Then strengthen Social Security and Medicare. A wage insurance system would be nice. Let’s think about expanding tax cuts for low-income workers without kids.

2) Can we be technological innovators and stop climate change?

Yes. I put Joe Biden in charge of curing cancer. And we have to keep funding research. We also have to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. (Though $2 gas ain’t bad!) We should change the way we manage fossil fuels, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers.

3) Can American still lead the world and fight terrorists?

Remember: The fight against ISIL isn’t World War II. But they still have to be destroyed. Which reminds me, Congress: Authorize the use of military force against ISIL. I’m committed. Remember Osama bin Laden? My foreign policy doctrine is this: America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies — but on issues of global concern, let’s get others involved. Now I'll quickly list some unfinished foreign policy business: Let’s try to end HIV and malaria, and I still need to shut down Guantanamo.

4) Can politics work better?

The rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better during my presidency. I regret that. We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. (You know who I’m talking about.) Some fixes: End gerrymandering, reduce money in politics, modernize voting, and fight the urge to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t share the same background.

In conclusion: Americans, vote in the next election. Your voices matter. You’re the reason I have such incredible confidence in our future. I see the best of America in wage earners, DREAMers, teachers, former convicts ( and the business owners who give them a second chance), protesters, cops, soldiers, nurses, LGBTQ kids (and the parents who love them), the elderly, new citizens, and poll volunteers. I’m hopeful because of you. The state of our union is strong.

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