Tuesday, President Donald Trump delivered his second State of the Union address, and I’m tempted to spend the next few moments adding some color to his speech. However, I first have to admit something.
I didn’t watch it.
To my credit, however, I did listen to the whole speech. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I believe that listening to an audio account — the radio, in my case — is the only truly impartial way to absorb the content of any Presidential message.
You see, well . . . really you don’t see. That’s my point. Only by shunning the advantage of visually descriptive images can you isolate the President’s message from all the distractive antics in his audience.
The State of the Union address has long left the realm of the statesmanlike in favor of the childlike. I really don’t care whether you believe in the President’s message or not. I just have to ask: If your kids were in the SOTU audience, would you let them behave that way? I think I know the answer.
The SOTU has become a badly orchestrated kindergarten pageant: a marshmallow-drama of catcalls, phony applause, the Pelosi clap-back, smug glances, Cheshire cat smiles, and veiled threats.
It used to be a televised glimpse into the augustness of serving the people of the United States. The SOTU was a tradition-rich display of prestige, protocol, and majesty. It often was our only look into the mechanics of our government.
There were some vestiges of tradition, Tuesday. For the most part, however, historical conventions took the path of civility into an ever widening abyss.
Overnight polling determined that 74 percent of those tuning in approved of the President’s message, although pollsters were quick to add that most of the people tuning in liked the President to begin with.
I wonder if they bothered to poll those of us just listening.
If you did watch the SOTU on television, I understand you were treated to seeing dozens of women lawmakers wearing white dresses. The white dresses intended to pay homage to the suffragists of the early twentieth century, celebrating the record number of female lawmakers elected to Congress.
I get it. Nevertheless, all I could think of was the irony that an incoming class of legislators, who ran on the platform of bringing government together, chose to start their careers by setting themselves apart.
But you know, maybe they’ve got an idea. What if all the various factions in government dressed according to their agenda. The environmentalist could wear green. The hawks could wear gunmetal grey. The pacifists, yellow. The socialists, red.
I just might start watching again.
It would sure make it easy for the rest of us to know where everyone stands. Then when we looked out on the audience at the next SOTU address, it would be just like looking into one giant box of crayons.
And that, to me, seems perfect for a room full of spoiled children.
John O. Marlowe is a reporter, sports writer and award-winning columnist for The Paper.