So You Didn’t SOTU? Try Short Afterthoughts

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The State of the Union (SOTU)  address isn’t everyone’s cup of entertainment tea.  Especially during this time in our nation’s political climate where anyone who is elected President of the United States can fall under scrutiny of whether they belong in that role or should be impeached for some nefarious reason.  I offer my short afterthoughts of the SOTU in case you were curious for a breakdown of what happened during this 2019 speech.

As I watched the address Tuesday night, I felt déjà vu wash over me relentlessly like the south Atlantic waves that break on the Florida beaches 10 minutes east of my home. There was a time I watched the SOTU only steps away from the Capitol building, securely at my work desk in a U.S. representative’s office— available for the boss if needed but simply enjoying being a political geek as a worker bee.

As the cameras panned over to the Democratic side of the House floor aisle, I was proud for a moment to see many white-clad women in their proud unity with each other—although it stung a little to see them apart from the Republican women. I wondered how much stronger we would be sitting together despite party affiliation differences?  Why wear white by the way? I understand the historical entomology going back to the suffrage movement of last century,  but sometimes a tradition should evolve with the present times. Couldn’t we pick another color to wear since “white” is taboo in our current social-political climate?  Double-standards are the land mines of our political landscape today.  Either way, we shouldn’t stop asking questions or trying to extend a hand to the “other side” of the political aisle.  We have no one to blame but ourselves for erecting these barriers against working toward compromises merely based on whether a donkey or an elephant punctuates your political affiliation.  Women are the village-minded ones who can change the tone from previous generations of male-dominated division tactics of politicking in our relatively young nation.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: I reserve a moment of respect for her in spite of my philosophical differences with her.  She’s Speaker of the House, again.  Seeing her and President Donald Trump in the same frame together was an astonishing sight. These two individuals that command polarizing attention, diabolically different individuals in their shared age group, at this moment of history at the operating helm of our nation—the Titanic is a bath toy in comparison to this visual statement at the SOTU.   Never mind the fact that you can search the internet and social media platforms for countless moments caught between President Trump and Speaker Pelosi that dripped of sarcasm in copious amounts.  I can only imagine the amount of stress their respective staffs were under during the SOTU while watching their principals flex and flaunt their mighty titles and modus operandi.

I noted congresswoman Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez’s posture at one point in the SOTU, evidently taking a photogenic opportunity to pout about the President of the United States.  Ah, yes, I recalled how I too was in my twenties once and felt so passionately that changes must be made in our society while still learning how everything works in the adult world.  Rep. Oscasio-Cortez at once can be an inspiration for younger women who would like to make a positive difference and yet because of her lack of humility with respect to her inexperience, she can also be an awful example of how overzealous behavior can wreck a generation’s ability to effect real change. For example, although we can all agree that humans are part to blame for things like fossil fuel dependency and an obscene amount of garbage produced; to demand a complete stop of electrical grid usage of fossil fuels without a solid transition plan is pompous pandering to an electorate who are more concerned about how to make daily ends meet. (readers note: research “Green New Deal”)

Overall President Trump delivered a SOTU speech that was a verbal relief after his endless tweets and media sound bites that had barraged our nation’s collective consciousness in the weeks following the partial shutdown of the federal government.  Utilizing more “we” than “I” seemed to be the end result, whether he feels that unity is possible is irrelevant.  It still feels better to hear that type of connecting language—especially in a public forum like this where other countries are dissecting our Commander in Chief’s every sentence for clues in how to engage our governmental officials and citizens abroad.

There were many good human-interest stories at the SOTU.  These too were unifying moments, times where both major parties could stand and clap. Again, nothing wrong with finding these short and sweet instances where we can blend into being proud to be an American—with the freedom to be ourselves and yet still celebrate the victories of ordinary citizens overcoming extraordinary circumstances.

I do wish the best for both the U.S. House and Senate Members of Congress this legislative session—especially the new members regardless of whether I agree with their platforms. It is a difficult but noble position to be a public servant in this capacity.  Most citizens don’t know the details of the work involved for each elected legislator and their staff.  We’re blessed to be in a country where our votes truly still matter if we all respectively engage actively in the process.  It’s a good thing to see more cultural diversity in our U.S. Congress and to bring in more women, younger and older.  This SOTU may have been a powderpuff event in wordplay but our nation deserves to have times like this where a message is delivered with more alignment in tone as we move forward.  God bless us all. +

R.V.S.B.

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