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I Boycotted the State Of The Union

Not really, I just opted against watching it.

I am being told to watch the SOTU address for the sheer joy of seeing the odd, the funny, the cringe-worthy, and the stupid.

During the government shutdown and the back and forth between Nance and Don, there were a thousand hot takes on twitter and in op-eds regarding the necessity or lack thereof in Trump giving the “traditional” SOTU address before both houses of congress.

Eschewing the historical points made about Jefferson putting the kibosh on an oral address and Wilson reviving the long dead speech, I opted against watching the SOTU because it just didn’t interest me nor would I advocate that form of torture for anyone.

This aversion is not limited to Trump, though the age of Trump does contribute something extra to the fear of listening to a SOTU.

The SOTU is nothing more than a trite expression of good feelings seen through the lens of immovable partisanship.  Idiots talk about compromise, moving to the center, and all that jazz, but we all know no one ever wants to.  I like partisanship.  I like bias. I don’t like feigning happy crap that no one cares about. 

But just as the compromise isn’t sincere, neither is the partisanship. We have morons sitting on their hands because they are afraid to draw the ire of Chuck and Nance for clapping at the wrong thing.  Last year, Joe Manchin got the evil eye from Chuck for his desire to stand and applaud. And then we have idiot republicans who applaud every little thing.  Which is really quite odd since the republican party isn’t always behind Trump. Regardless of who is in power, the SOTU is just a discount geriatric exercise program. Stand and clap, breathe, and sit back down…up, now down. Up, and down again.  Let’s get five more reps, you’re doing great.

While the up/down makes it worse than a Catholic mass, the incessant applause makes what is surely a short ten-minute speech into an hour and half-long affair.  I’m exaggerating, but you get the point.

And then we come to the substance of the speech.  I will probably try to find a truncated version of the speech on YouTube to watch later, but I’m told there were some “can’t miss” moments.  While the media drives itself nuts fact-checking minutia (is 31% equal to one-third?) the basic conclusion, that the state of the union is strong, is nothing more than a partisan interpretation of debatable politics.  For some on the left, the nation is strongest when we are butchering infants.  And for those on the right, the nation is strongest when we curtail or ban infanticide.  Neither side is going to agree over that.  And it’s the same with every other policy, except in rare moments of national unity that haven’t been seen since 9/11.  The SOTU has no use for an objective pursuit of understanding what makes the nation healthy because a healthy nation is subjective.  It exists to make political points and that’s it.

I never really gave it much thought until this year, but maybe it is best to go back to a written report to congress. Bring in all the data, all the facts, all the graphs, and charts to make the strongest case for why the nation is the way it is.  Don’t leave it to this type of spectacle.

There isn’t a more ardent advocate of civic engagement than myself.  I will tell you to write your congressperson, listen to SCOTUS oral arguments, read the Federalist Papers, watch congressional hearings, confirmation hearings, and read the laws in your own states.  I will tell you to memorize the Bill of Rights.  I will tell you to vote.  Will I tell you to watch the State of the Union address? Probably not, though I think I have to now, just to see the good parts.

Here are some other Resurgent articles on the SOTU:

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