Trump speaks to Congress tonight. I’m being told I need to watch it. Telling Americans they need to watch this speech is like telling Romans they should listen carefully to the fiddling of Nero while Rome burns.
I have much, much better things to do; even if those things include having my toenails painted by my daughter.
As a rule, I generally watch the State of the Union speeches. I try to catch them every year. Until this year. This year I will not be listening, just as I have tried to never listen every time the Orange Hate-Monkey speaks. This is an attempt to conserve the brains cells that I have left. Listening to lies has been shown to make you less intelligent, and I know that Trump will be doing nothing but lying anytime he speaks.
I’ll pay attention to the president when (if) we get a different one.
As I have confessed previously, I watch the State of the Union (SOTU) address pretty much every year as a matter of course. Some years I grit my teeth and bear it, some years I have to watch it with an accompanying joke track (the only thing I tolerate an MST3K treatment for is politics) since Barack Obama has been President, I’ve pretty much sat down to watch with something akin to interest if not utter fascination.
“He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient”
George Washington and John Adams delivered the address in person. Jefferson, who hated the pomp that surrounded much of the Presidency, declined to give the address in person and had it sent to Congress to be read by the clerk. Every President followed Jefferson’s example until the time of Woodrow Wilson. Carter was the most recent President to decline to address congress in person.
I’m not sure which is more disdainful of the legislature, to have the President speak to them directly or to have his message read to Congress by the clerk. But I can say with pretty firm conviction that the worst and most presumptuous idea ever hatched in American politics is the response to the State of the Union crafted by the opposition party and read by some sacrificial lamb that they’ve convinced to stand up and embarrass themselves before the nation.
The President speaks for the people when he delivers his message; that is the point of it. Here is this year’s State of the Union address;
It has been patently obvious to this concerned voter, pretty much since I started viewing and reading these speeches, that the majority of the content was pretty uncontroversial. At least, uncontroversial at the time. What history teaches is another thing entirely. And yet, every single time that a speech is delivered these days, someone is tapped from the opposition party to make pretense that the content of the President’s address is incorrect in some real fashion.
In the years since 2008, this tendency to pose in mock outrage before the camera has fractured, though. Not content to offer just one critique, for the last few years the various factions of the opposition have felt that they needed to voice their particular flavor of outrage lest their self-importance be forgotten.
This year was no different. In fact, the clamor for attention after the SOTU was delivered has been comic in proportion. From what I can gather, virtually every Republican member of the House of Representatives felt they had to personally put the President in his place. Here is the video posted by the bloviating windbag that pretends to represent my section of Austin;
I say bloviating because, like all of the statements in opposition, this one is made up largely of nothing but air. They could have showed up and simply yelled fear! fear! fear! repeatedly for all the facts contained in the (mercifully) short responses.
I am regularly spammed by this… person (and both the Senators for my state) Having unwittingly corresponded with his office, I am now permanently on his spam list, as if I have any interest in anything these Republicans might say.
Which leads me back to the adjective, pretends. Pretends to Represent. This is demonstrable. Austin is overwhelmingly liberal. Not going to change at any point that is discernible to residents within Austin. They were dope smoking, nude sunbathing hippies long before I got here, and the weed has not gotten less potent with time. Willie makes sure of that.
The leadership of this state is elected by the rest of Texas which is angry and conservative. (medical marijuana should help with that. Talk to your doctor!) They have taken it upon themselves to attempt to remove the only liberal Representative from Texas by breaking the only liberal areas IN Texas into as many districts as they can reasonably separate them into. So Austin doesn’t have one or two districts, which would be liberal. No, Austin is split into no less than 5 different districts, with my district being a narrow strip through the center of Austin that then spreads out to cover 9 additional COUNTIES in Texas so as to dilute the Democratic vote in central Austin and place it in the hands of this… person.
It is also worth noting that the Republicans who have controlled this state since the dear departed Ann Richards was unseated by the then owner of the Texas Rangers, George W. Bush (you’ve probably heard of him) have failed at their dream of removing all traces of the stain of liberalism from their great state because they not only have one liberal member to caucus with, they now have two.
Back to the subject at hand. This pretender who poses as my Representative (not that I liked the Democrat he replaced. That is another story) helpfully emailed me the text of his response, a further mercy that saves me from having to endure the sound of his voice. Here is a snippet;
It’s been seven years since President Barack Obama took office. In that time, the United States has accumulated the largest national debt in its history, the fewest number of adults are working since Jimmy Carter’s presidency and the executive branch has expanded its power immensely – the president has chosen which laws to enforce and created new ones without Congress’ approval.
Just the first paragraph. I can’t stomach the rest of the twisted realities presented. The first paragraph is enough anyway, because it shows the agenda of the response, of all the responses. It is the same theme I pointed out last year, the Republicans are in it for the power alone. The welfare of the general populace be damned, we have a budget to manage! Never mind that the sitting President has presided over the least spending of any President since Eisenhower, or that he has been the deportation President and the anti-drug President and the terrorist-fighting President to a tune that dwarfs the last two holders of that office, that is not good enough. Truthfully nothing would be good enough.
Obama came into office with an olive branch, and the Republicans batted it away. He adopted their policies and positions, and they abandoned them for even more radical conservative positions, taking stances on subjects like healthcare that are frankly hard to fathom. So the poor should be left to die without care? Am I understanding you correctly? We should send the children who surrendered to our border guards voluntarily, back to the gang-run South American states they fled from, so that they can be forced to join gangs or become their sex slaves? Seriously, what is it conservatives expect to be done about these very real problems that they simply try to wish away?
Last night, Obama once again offered an olive branch to the Republicans. He went so far as to praise the new Speaker of the House, even though his work has been limited to actually doing the job that the previous Speaker simply couldn’t cope with. The Republican response? To once again bat the offer of cooperation away. Cooperation means progress, and progress means hope. Give the people hope and they might actually vote without fear in the next election. Republican victory is grounded on a fearful voting public.
The most promising part of the State of the Union address? Obama’s statement that he intends to campaign to fix the gerrymandered districts that plague the House of Representatives in many other states aside from my own. I welcome his help in getting sensible, non-partisan rules for redistricting put into place. It is about time someone took this issue seriously. maybe then Austin will have a real Representative in Washington. Hope springs eternal.
I enjoy the State of the Union address. I watch it every year, without fail. Some years I can watch it straight; others I have to watch through a comedic lens. I genuinely appreciate a good speech. I enjoy the pageantry of the State of the Union, and unlike others who think it should be retired, I think this country would be less than it is without the President appearing to talk to us about his perceptions of the union, and his plans for the next year.
The last six years have been enjoyable times. Compared to the Presidents who preceded him, Barack Obama shines when he is speaking. Neither W nor Clinton could hold a candle to this man when he has a message and wants to talk to you about it. Reagan is the only President in my living memory who comes anywhere close to being as magnetic a personality as our sitting President is.
Still, there is a part of the current State of the Union that I really disapprove of, and once I describe this to you, I’m betting you’ll agree with it.
I’m sitting there watching the speech, and I hear the President get to the subject of equal pay for women, and John Boehner doesn’t stand up for it. None of the Republicans stand up for it. By their actions, they appear to be opposed to all of the policies which the President set forth, many of which deserved applause. I was just rewatching the Nightly Show from the night of the speech; and during the “Keeping it 100” segment, Amy Holmes says she would not support the President’s call for equal pay by standing for it. She apparently thinks she should be paid less than a man for doing the same job. Or is there another factor at play here?
There is an obvious conclusion which can be drawn from these displays of disdain for progressive causes. They sit on their hands because they don’t want to give approval to the party in power, that much is clearly true. They sit on their hands because they want to hold the power for themselves. That is also true. It’s all about the power, wielding the power. It isn’t about what is good for the country, or what is good for the people in general, it is about the power and the power alone.
I can hear you now dear reader The Democrats Are No Different! and if they fail to stand and applaud for progressive causes, for things which will be for the good of the nation, then they are just as craven and should also face rejection at the polls. Having viewed the State of the Union as I have for decades, I haven’t noticed the Democratic party failing to applaud proposals they agree with. Only the Republicans appear to feel the need to openly crave power in this fashion.
So it makes me wonder. Why exactly should we vote for these people who are in it for the power alone? Maybe we should elect people who go there to represent us? Just a thought.
Feb. 14, 2019. Edited Youtube and Nightly Show video links, converted to WordPress.