The State of Our Union

Last night Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States (what a disturbing thing to type) gave his first State of the Union Address to Congress, to the American public and to the world.

Immediately after the speech, and again this morning, Republican spokespersons, Fox network sycophants and still-loyal Trump supporters gave his remarks high praise. In fact, if you missed the actual speech and had only their praise to go by you might believe you missed the powerful rhetoric of a Churchill, the inspiring humanity of a Martin Luther King and the collaborative good nature of a Mr. Rogers.

Today, observers with a more neutral stance expressed disappointment in the things Trump’s words failed to include. They felt his speech had little real substance. It lacked any honest clarity. Although he repeatedly made grandiose claims and promises, his words included few specifics. It was mostly just more campaign rhetoric. There were few solid plans presented, virtually no measurable goals.

But in my opinion, Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address did a magnificent job summing up the state of our union today. I don’t mean that his words alone did that job. It was the entire event that summed up our union’s present state in crystal clear terms.

Hearing our nation’s President confidently assert exaggerations, half- truths and outright lies really did expose a huge problem our union now must deal with every day. Watching every Republican in Trump’s audience nod their heads in agreement or wildly applaud his words, no matter how untrue, counterproductive or petty, exposed another dangerous weakness in the state of our United States.

And seeing virtually every Democrat in the hall, all “the loyal opposition,” sit sullenly silent, almost motionless through most of Trump’s address, clearly filled with disdain and distrust (though well deserved), bared one more failing in our union’s present state that must be repaired. 

The past twelve months have shown us where having a Republican President and a Congress controlled by the GOP can take our country. Monday night, the dynamics of the evening were a chilling reminder of the present state of our U.S.A. It is not as healthy as it could be or certainly should be. For the remainder of this year we must turn that concern into action.

The man presently in the White House is clearly a thin-skinned narcissist. He is incurious, impetuous and unscrupulous. (There are so many more negative adjectives I could use to describe this guy. All accurate.) Each of these characteristics make our nation’s prospects less promising. — And here’s the reality: there is going to be a Republican in the Oval Office for another three years. (Trump or Pence.)

So, bottom line? The only hope America has for improving the state of our union over the next three years is for we Democrats to take over at least one branch of Congress. Better yet, gaining a majority in both the House and the Senate now looks within reach.

Beyond that, we need to help elect Democrats into offices at every level of our state and local government, physically and financially. And we shouldn’t ignore key races in other states either. The Tea Party and the alt-right movement gained their political foothold and experience in local races.

That’s it. Electing Democrats should be our goal right up to next November’s election. And as you’ve read again and again in the NTD News that success will require your participation in some way.

I know that every volunteer or donor has his or her own life to lead. Getting involved may take a little self-motivation. So try this: When you’re debating whether to commit to spending some time on a phone bank or ringing doorbells or writing a check, think of Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam applauding one of President Trump’s pompous pronouncements. Or think of Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan sitting behind the podium with smirking approval of “his President.” Or the Senate’s Mitch McConnell grinning at the present state or our union he worked so hard to create. Wouldn’t next year’s State of the Union address be so much more enjoyable if sights like that were nowhere to be seen.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973