The Union Has Stated

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This post is not political; it is more a critique of an unnecessary act by the government.

Last night the President of the United States gave his State of the Union address. The address was first given to Congress by President George Washington. Thomas Jefferson decided that the speech was not necessary so he stopped the practice and most presidents followed suit in not giving the address. Woodrow Wilson brought the address back and FDR changed the name of the address to “State of the Union” and every president has given an address since. The address gives a state of the union to Congress as mandated by Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, but is it time for the President to just mail the address to Congress and dump the speech? The State of the Union address is a joke. Here you have 535 members of Congress, the Supreme Court justices, the President’s Cabinet minus one, the First Lady and her guests, Congressional guests and the President and it has to be the most unconformable setting in America. To give the address some comparison, imagine the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa giving the “State of the Streets” address to the Crips and Bloods, pandering to each group for love and support. The State of the Union makes for bad television because America gets to see how divide Congress is.

As the networks start to air live in the House Chamber, we see the members of Congress gather to their respected areas.  You will notice there is a Republican section and a Democratic section for their members. One of the things that I despised about the address is how the Democrats and Republicans would take turns applauding something that the President would say. Higher taxes for the rich, Democrats leap in joy. More tax breaks, Republicans are doing flips. It’s bad television to watch elected officials act so petty. Here is an idea that could make this address more TV friendly, remove the imaginary border known as the aisle. Since this is a joint session of Congress to hear an address by the President then seating should be done by seniority. Now you have Democrats and Republicans seated together and perhaps some restraint by the two parties during the speech.

Here comes the Sergeant-at-Arms announcing the President’s Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs and the Supreme Court as they make their way to their seats. No big deal there but there is something worth pointing out. The seats along the aisle in which the President will walk to get to the front of the chamber is filled with Representatives and Senators who have reserve their seat just so they can greet the President as he strolls down the aisle. Wait a minute; the President is a rock star!! These Representatives and Senators are literary holding down these seats all day just so they can have this quick meet and greet with the President. Uh-oh, here comes the President.

The door to the chamber opens and it’s the rock star, President Barack Obama and behind him is his posse, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate. The President can’t enter the chamber until the Sergeant-at-Arms announces his arrival. The announcement has been made, the applaud starts and here he comes down the aisle and the groupies are waiting to shake his hand and asking for his autograph. With the attention that Obama is getting you would think he was going down the Soul Train line. (I can hear T.S.O.P as the President makes his way to the end of the line {aisle}) Ok, the President has finally made his way to the podium after shaking hands with his peeps and he arrives with gifts for the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. He has copies of the address that he is going to give to Congress. Please!! I doubt Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi is going to remind themselves to read the address after he gives it live. Word of advice, Mr. President save the paper and tell them to read it online at http://www.whitehouse.gov

Earlier I mention how the two parties have this method in which one party would cheer when they hear something good out of the President’s mouth and the other party would sit on their hands and vice versa. Now the President is speaking and he has to pander to both sides. This is my biggest issue with the address. The President of the United States has to play referee to two groups and try to make both of them happy which is live on television. It does not come off well on TV to have the President pacifying Red and Blue. After he gives his speech, the President is once again going up the Soul Train line to greet his groupies one more time as he is making his way out of the chamber. The State of the Union address is over…….oh, I forgot about the GOP response. I didn’t bother to watch it because it is basically the opposite of what the President said without the Soul Train line.

Thomas Jefferson was right when he ended the practice of addressing the members of Congress. The State of the Union address is a joke, a farce. Having Democrats and Republicans cheering and jeering and vice versa sucks. The president should send a statement to the Congress giving them an update as mandated by Article II but a televised dog and pony show is no longer needed unless they are prepared to change the format from a us vs. them format to a legitimate joint session of Congress. That concludes my review of the State of the Union and for the record, Rep. Joe Wilson behaved this time.

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~ by R8RBOB on January 28, 2010.

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