OPINION: State of our disunion

Austin Belet, Opinions Writer

The State of The Union Address of 2019 has been delivered and the traditional Trump taglines have been delivered with it.

On one hand, I heard several things from the President that I can get behind; whether that be lowered prescription drug prices, paid family leave, or the eradication of HIV/AIDS. The President began his address by advocating for bipartisanship and unity between the parties in government. This is no doubt in response to the fact the Democrats now control the House of Representatives, and subsequently the ability to issue articles of impeachment.

But the address was droll and robotic. Trump achieved such notoriety while on the campaign trail by using rhetoric that incensed his base, a cadence that allowed Trump to create a fervor that was lacking in this speech. In fairness, we have always known that when the President gives a speech off of the teleprompter that his message is often more measured and his tone very monotonous.

But never mind all of that, the real issue I had is the withdrawal of the INF, the backing of school choice, the archaic border wall, and (perhaps the most damning) the overt criticism of the Mueller investigation.

President Trump delivered a State of the Union that, while largely forgettable, did shed light on some of the motivations and concerns of his administration.

We have seen tonight that the President has come to terms with the need to cooperate with the Democrats, but he is trying to leverage policy points that the Democrats want in order to kill off the investigation that is still occurring right now (and may be coming to and end soon?). How should the Dems proceed?

Do not give in.

The President has never given the Democrats a reason to believe he will yield any of his platform to allow Democrats to achieve their means. Not only that, but senate Republicans are getting irritable with the President on issues like the border wall and the withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan.

Aside from the policy discussed, there was several interesting members in the crowd; from a litany of Democratic candidates for president, to Buzz Aldrin, and not one but two holocaust survivors (one of whom received a very strange “Happy Birthday” that the President mimicked orchestrating and remarked “they wouldn’t do that for me.”) One of the most noticeable aspects of the crowd was the massive patch of white in the audience. Women lawmakers were wearing white in celebration of the Suffragettes. This was to show the issues women have taken with the Trump administration, from the Access Hollywood tape to his calling on the prohibition on late term abortions (which has recently passed in New York and created a massive wave of social media frenzy).

The Democratic response (delivered by Stacey Abrams) was much more interesting to watch, and not interrupted every sentence by applause. Abrams delivered a speech that was much more passionate than what the president had delivered not but ten minutes prior. Abrams addressed the need to provide affordable healthcare, invest in public education, celebrate immigration, calling out racism, and to ensure that every vote is accounted for. For a speech that can be traditionally daunting for any politician, Abrams knocked it out of the park.


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