It’s that time of the year again where we are all subjected to the giant masquerade known as the State of the Union address. While it originally had a semblance of usefulness when communication was more difficult and before there were things like the internet to give us all the information we ever wanted, the State of the Union doesn’t serve much of a purpose anymore, other than giving politically warring factions a chance to grandstand in silly and ridiculous ways.
Why do we bother with any of this? If Trump wants air time, all he has to do is ask for it. We don’t have to go through all this bad acting from both sides of the political divide.
Trump will announce his emergency declaration to fund the Wall, and Democrats will boo and hiss while Republicans stand and cheer. If anyone is caught not booing or not cheering, there will be much ado about why — like maybe someone got tired of all the annoying acting and just quit.
The Supreme Court justices will sit like statues and remain expressionless to grandstand and overact their point of trying to show as much non-partisanship and disinterest as they can pretend to have.
Politics is spectacle enough without all of this pomp and circumstance. It’s embarrassing, really. What have we ever learned in the past 70 years from the SOTU that we didn’t already know or could have known about without it? It’s just a really bad melodrama of old-fashioned over-dramatic acting.
Want to get drunk while watching the SOTU? Take a drink every time you hear the words “Wall” or “border”. Want to stay sober? Take a drink every time the camera catches a politician not booing when he is supposed to, or not cheering on que.
I suppose the thing that annoys me most about this spectacle is the fact that it so dramatically illustrates in the biggest way possible everything that is wrong with American politics and tribalism. Politics in the US isn’t at all abut improving lives and protecting rights. It are about sticking with your party and towing the party line. They are about creating drama and staging the right narrative, then controlling how the narrative is distributed. Politics in the US is about selling favors, sometimes for money and sometimes for more favors.
I gave up on watching the State of the Union a long time ago because of all of this. There is nothing to be gained from any of it. Political corruption and the power of the state will be on full display tonight that should embarrass every American.
However, it is written into the Constitution, and there are only two ways to change it: getting 2/3rds of the states to take it out is not very feasible, but a public willing to take a stand and take all their power away from them, if everyone is willing, is a very feasible and more enticing option.