Tomorrow night the president will stride into the House chamber to deliver a challenging State of the Union speech, which could easily be dead on arrival or so soft-peddled it goes flat. But what if you were to deliver the speech – what would be your main talking points? Let’s create the citizen state of the union speech! I ask this because I’m wondering what people really want to hear – that is, how people want to be engaged? It’s clear that people want less rancor and partisanship in public life and politics; it’s also quite clear that there are tough issues before us.
Honest to God, the recent rhetoric around “let’s all get along” turns my stomach. It’s the polar opposite of the silly bravado and testosterone-driven shenanigans we’ve seen for all-too-long. Now, instead, we run the risk of false passivity, a kind of wolf in lamb’s clothing that will rise up to bite us all in the rear just when we’ve been told change was in the offing.
I’ve labeled this false hope in other venues! Sounds about right, but I don’t believe it has to be this way.
I heard this morning on NPR a political commentator suggest that we could gauge the meaningfulness of the president’s speech tomorrow night by whether congressional members on both sides of the aisle stand up and applaud for the same lines, or whether only one side stands to give their undying support. I had been thinking of the same notion this morning when I woke up. But then I thought better of it – utter hogwash!
I don’t care if the pols decide to stand up at the same time, so they can try to make themselves look good for the TV cameras and the voters at home. Oftentimes they look downright silly when they gregariously slap each other on the back and clap with unmitigated enthusiasm for someone they viciously attacked the day before. What I want to know is if they can reach some common ground on core challenges we must address.
So, for once, I wish the members of Congress would just sit there on their hands, not wiggling a bit, just listening attentively to the president. Let’s hear what he has to say; and let’s hear a real response from those who see things differently.
But, first, let’s hear from you. Please send in talking points for your State of the Union speech. Then let’s compare what you say with what we hear.