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2018 State of the Union Address

February 2, 2018

Photo Courtesy of BBC news

“The State of the Union is strong,” President Trump said Tuesday night during his first State of the Union Address. And he was right. Despite what has been a rocky and divisive year for our great republic, America is strong. Although I am a partisan Republican, I am finding myself becoming tired of the scandal of this presidency thus far. That being said, the address given this week was a well written and well-delivered speech that highlighted the successes of the Trump Presidency in his first year. Here are four takeaways from Trump’s first State of the Union Address.

1.Donald Trump has the capacity to be presidential…..sometimes.

His behavior and rhetoric, even his policies, are what causes people to hold animosity towards him. Last night he showed the American people a different side and he was on good behavior. Whether it was from the low expectations he has created for himself or the quality of the speech, I am not sure. I do know the speech was well received and a majority of the people who watched the address had a positive reaction to it.

2.The Democrats have become so partial that they refuse to stand for any successes the country has had in the last year because of Donald Trump.

With the exception of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, the Democrats refused to stand for statements like “We worship God, not Government” and “unemployment has fallen.” Not to say the Republicans were not very partial during the Obama Presidency. This is just an observation on my part of how far apart the two parties are. If people feel they cannot stand and clap when Donald Trump says “In God We Trust” then we have a long way to go in fixing the American political climate.

3. The address was as much about inspiring patriotism as it was focusing on policy.

While he did speak a good amount about his policies, the President also did a lot to inspire patriotic feelings amongst the public. He highlighted a soldier who had recently won a bronze star and referred several times to the motto “In God We Trust.” At one point, this inspired the Republican members of Congress in the room to start chanting “USA.” I feel that the patriotic message of the speech is a big reason why it was so well received by the general public.

4. President Trump recognized a diverse array of special guests.

From the lady who was in the Coast Guard who saved many lives, to the North Korean who escaped the brutal dictatorship of his homeland, the President did his best to include many people from many backgrounds as his special guests. Given the charges of being intolerant he faces from his opposition, and his history of making derogatory comments towards women, it was a good move on his part to invite all the different people he did.

Given that this is the most presidential he has been in a long time, I hope we will continue to see this side of President Trump more often. If so, he could become the unifying force for the country we have all been seeking since election night in 2016.

Joe Stewart
Contributing Writer

President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address was nothing if not eventful. The address, which originally was created for the sake of making sure that the President would update Congress on their plans and platform in the upcoming year, has become a political flashpoint in which Presidents get to tout their accomplishments and remark on their vision for the nation. For Trump, the address was yet another opportunity to outline his “America First” ideology, on the grandest of stages. For Democrats, however, the address came off as divisive, and a continuation of racist rhetoric from the White House. For both, the speech was symbolic of the kind of Presidency that Trump will have, for better or for worse. Despite this, Trump showed a level of restraint considered rare for Trump’s addresses, instead opting for a message of bipartisan cooperation and unity.

However, in this polarized political climate, it would not be a Trump address if there were not barbs tossed at political enemies, and old fights stirred up. After introducing a young boy who spearheaded an effort to put flags on veterans’ gravestones, Trump invoked his fight with NFL players about kneeling during the anthem. When discussing his immigration platform, he took special care to mention MS-13, the violent gang Trump often invokes when discussing immigration along with his hardline views. He also took aim at undocumented childhood arrivals, termed DREAMers after the DREAM Act that sought to give them protection, doubling down on his stance that any protection will have to also fund a border wall, scuttle the visa lottery program, and reform how immigrants bring their families to the States. Despite Trump’s message about bipartisanship, the actual text of the speech often did more to divide parties that already loathe working together.

In the aftermath of the speech, however, Democrats found themselves in an awkward position. After Trump blasted Democrats repeatedly in the address, Democrats put forth a somewhat scattered defense. Relying on five separate rebuttals to the address in order to shore up divisions in the base, Democrats, who seem to be safe in upcoming elections, outlined their image for America. Joe Kennedy headlined the efforts and attempted to frame Trump as a plutocrat out for himself. While the Kennedy response seemed to unveil a more progressive platform, including a higher minimum wage, paid leave for workers, and other wins for the more leftist wing of the party, Kennedy also made sure to note that the Democratic Party must prioritize both legislative wins and securing rights for marginalized groups. With midterms around the corner, and hopes of taking back legislative majorities in Congress, Trump and nationally-recognized Democrats like Kennedy are sure to clash again.

Anthony Adams
Political Editor

Photo Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

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