The real State of the Union

Published 3:28 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2019

My friend said, “I hope the President can give a good speech.” He meant, of course, The State of the Union (SOTU) address to Congress to be given Tuesday night this week. By the time you read this, you will have your opinion as to whether President Trump “gave a good speech.”

It’s a constitutionally mandated report. Article II, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution requires the President to periodically “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.” As to whether it is an accurate depiction of the state of the union is another matter.

I’m sure the President will begin with his positive accomplishments. So would I. Always lead with your best foot! I’ve seen quite a few of these SOTU speeches. A few have been interesting, some have put more to sleep than my sermons and that’s saying a lot.

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Most are too long. Asking a President or any politician to give a short speech is like asking a preacher for a short devotion.

The question is “Will he give an accurate state of the union?” Generally speaking, I would expect only the good news, but President Trump is an unpredictable President. That quality is appreciated by his supporters and scorned by those who oppose him.

Certainly, some things are good in our nation. The President has been good for our business climate and it shows. He promised to create jobs, reduce the hassle caused by regulations, and helped most with his tax cuts. As a result, he will tell us that the United States of America is the envy of the world. It will be difficult for the President’s opposition to dispute this, but they will try.

The opinion of the world towards the United States is undergoing change. We seem to be more aggressive in our expectations as to how the world views us. President Trump has been directly honest when it comes to addressing those nations who want to take advantage of us.

Those nations that want us to pay all the bills because we are “the big USA” are experiencing some pushback on that attitude. Just because a nation is a friend, doesn’t give them a pass when it comes to paying their fair share for protection against common enemies. To me, that approach should be filed in the “that goes without saying” bin.

Most of the time, the SOTU speech is just another speech, but with all the contentiousness of these times, nothing is “regular” anymore. I hope the President will give an honest appraisal of our nation. I also hope that those who report of his speech will be just as honest. I won’t hold my breath!

The true state of the union is that honesty is in short supply. It’s ironic that we have more fact checkers than ever before, but the “Honesty Meter” is as confused as it can be.

The state of the union is that we are a very divided nation. It is said that there are two sides to every coin. That’s a strange saying to me. There are two sides, but one coin. I’m not so sure we can define our nation as one nation anymore. The divisions, the different sides of the coin, are so intent on having their way I am not certain that we can come together on any issue.

We’ll probably see Tuesday that Rudyard Kipling was right on! “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” What happened to “One nation under God?”