Every year I feel a responsibility as a citizen of the United States of America to watch the President, whomever he may be, deliver the State of the Union pep talk. I find it repugnant, petty, and orchestrated not for the results that will come from the promises that are always made but for sound bites for the news for the following week or so.
I image that the attempted assassination of US House Democratic Rep Gabrielle Giffords will draw more viewers than normal to the rally. Yes, the pep rally. That is what this is, don’t you think? Recall the good old days of your high school pep rallies. It didn’t matter if your team was 1-8 or 9-0, it was fake excitement. The coach would say or do something ‘outrageous’, the stars of the team would be out there to be look over like a cattle auction, and the cheerleaders would jump up and down and try out a new flip of some sort for their own pride’s sake.
Is this not what happens during the State of the Union? We get reaction shots of the stars (Boehner, Pellosi, etc), shots of groups standing and clapping versus those who stay seated with their hands in their pockets (doing what? well, who knows.) The coach (President) comes out and tells the crowd how much potential they have to ‘win’ and how this is the most important game (year). The crowd is told to believe and to work with each other to support the team. They even have a mascot, in this case it is the intern for Representative Giffords who will be sitting with Mrs. Obama. I think the mascot is about the most sickening part of the speech, it is exploitative, tacky, and uncomfortable. While they invite many ‘guests’ they always have one that they use to associate themselves with an event or group.
This year US House Republican Representative Michelle Bachmann is going to give a ‘Tea Party’ response to the #SOTU in addition to the more customary response from the party not in control of the White House by Representative Paul Ryan. You know what this means right? Two formally recognized responses to the pep rally from the Republican side… so that means the Democrats will cry foul for not having equal time. Although, the responses always seem more like YouTube videos.
So this is my state of mind on the State of the Union that is this evening. I will follow this up with a post pep rally commentary this evening, if I can force myself to make it through the damned thing.