President Donald Trump’s State of the Union was hollow in light of his actions and absent of an honest and genuine analysis of the State of our Union.
I heard about a supposed union between all Americans. Yet, at the same time, I heard anecdotal evidence used as a political weapon against millions of people in this country. The president failed to mention the extreme vetting process that’s already in place for immigrants to be granted citizenship, as well as the 800,000 DACA recipients who await suddenly turbulent and unknown futures.
I heard the mention of the success of Staub Industries, a small business in Ohio. What I did not hear about were the layoffs being made by AT&T and Comcast after receiving massive bonuses after the new tax plan. What I did not hear was that our booming stock market mostly rewards the 10 percent of households that own 84 percent of all stocks, nor did I hear about the UN’s report on approximately 41 million Americans living in poverty.
This administration has long had no respect for the value of truth. If I spent my time explaining every technical falsehood, I would easily double or triple the length of this column, and that isn’t why I’m writing. All that I witnessed Tuesday night was a script produced by an administration that peddles misinformation and exacerbates division and read aloud by a man who is complicit in the normalization of hatred and “the other.”
I conveniently did not hear about Americans killed at the hand of homegrown terrorism.
I did not hear about the ICE raids and deportations reminiscent of Gestapo tactics, including the deportation of a Palestinian man who has lived and contributed to America for 40 years, despite six months of protection from U.S. Congress while his case was reviewed.
I see the State of our Union in the hundreds of women who stood up to Doctor Larry Nassar, in the hundreds of women who have fueled and sustained the #MeToo movement, in the awe-inspiring speech delivered by Oprah at the Golden Globes.
I see the State of our Union in the works of Clint Smith, Michelle Alexander, Robert Reich, Roxane Gay, Lauren Duca and countless others. I see it in the work done by organizations like the Innocence Project, Equal Justice Initiative and Southern Poverty Law Center.
The State of our Union includes so much more than the experiences and perspectives of those that think, look and act like us. There is so much to learn about this nation by diligently listening to and engaging with those around us that we usually don’t.
The State of our Union stretches far beyond one damaging figure in the Oval Office, and the view from here doesn’t seem so bad.
For an opposing view on the State of the Union click here.