Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Why the State of the Union address bothers me:

First off, if our ancestors had used the rationale "it's the way things are, what are you going to do?" We'd still be colonies of the British Empire. That is unless the Spanish or the Germans had conquered them by now. Nothing can ever change for the better by using the argument "It's the way things are." If the way things are isn't GOOD, then goddammit, I don't -care- if it's the way things are, the way things are is -wrong-.

You want to know why "the way things are" bothers me? The State of the Union is a show. It's fake. What's worse, it's OBVIOUSLY fake. Consider that for a moment. What possible reason would a group of individuals have to produce such an obviously fake display?

I'm not talking about the president's propositions, or his speech. I'm complaining about the pauses for applause. The President forms a sentence, and the republicans stand up and applaud. The former President Clinton formed a sentence, and the democrats would stand up and applaud. Every single time, it's a standing ovation. Now, Standing ovations are acts of tremendous respect, and while I agree that the leader of the executive branch of our nation, no matter who he is, is deserving of some degree of ceremony and respect, Noone in this country is going to honestly say that every sentence the president forms is worthy of a standing ovation. So what should be a gesture of respect, or at the very least a calculated act of emphasis becomes an utterly empty gesture. Standing up and clapping becomes nothing more then an act of rigmarole, a process of going through the motions. At the very least, it says negative things about the senators and their motivations. At the worst, this extremely patronizing affair is an insult to the intelligence of the entire body of the American people. The president speaks highly of our education system, of the potential of our nation's youth and future, and the senate rocks up and down as if to say "Who's a good America? You're a good America, yes you are! Would you like health care? Who wants clean energy?! I bet you do, don't you?! Now roll over boy! Roll over! That's a good America!"

It offends me. There is very little in the world that bothers me more then being talked down to, but that's exactly what the state of the union address, or rather, the presentation of that address is. It is a testament to the low opinion our government holds over it's own people. They're patronizing you, they're patronizing me, they're patronizing every single American citizen.

You can blame the media, but as I pointed out, the media -apparently- aren't the ones running the cameras in this case. They're just draining the feed through to us. It's the Senate. It's the cabinet. It's everybody in that room, putting on a show as they look down condescendingly at the American people.

The state of the Union address was conceived as a method of direct address between the president and the legislative branch of our government. But the way the senate has co-opted that, and the cameras, as a way of displaying their support or disdain for the President is an insult to the American people and a symptom of the -painful- division that -both- parties are responsible for driving into our nation and our government.

It doesn't -matter- if the democrats did it under Clinton. That doesn't have anything to do with my complaint. If anything, it reinforces the depth and the pain of this schism. This country is divided. Despite all our commonalities, and the relative uniformity of our differences, we are divided neatly in two by two corrupt organizations of career politicians that have seen fit to take their personal grudges and force-feed them into the American subconscious. They use their mutual grips on the largely mindless media to reinforce these mindsets. -That- is the "way things are". -That- is what we face. A nation divided, trained to hate itself by the mindless rhetoric of it's political leadership. And no, I -don't- think that we, as Americans, should roll over and accept that. Even if it's a lost cause, in fact, -especially- if it's a lost cause, I believe that we owe it, to ourselves, and to all the men and women who have given their lives for the sake of an ideal, to throw ourselves against the wall, to tear it down at all cost, because if there is any value at ALL to the nation we claim to love, then it deserves that. It NEEDS that.


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