State of Union: Positive, but sadly, unwelcome to some
President Trump’s State of the Union message Tuesday was uplifting for all the right reasons and disheartening for all the wrong reasons.
We suppose that’s to be expected, given how politically divided the nation is, even as the economy – to the benefit of all Americans – shows its most encouraging signs in a decade.
It’s also to be expected given how divisive the president can be. Some of the disunity can be laid at his doorstep.
But we Americans should have learned long ago that our democratic process works best when we separate ideas from personal likes and dislikes.
And the president clearly had much to review from the past year and propose for the coming year that should be drawing unified acceptance.
The fact that unemployment among the African-American and Hispanic population is at historic lows should be cause for a unified standing ovation. Instead, Democrats, who claim to represent these people better than others, sat on their hands, some booing and hissing.
The fact that the recent tax reform bill is already benefitting all Americans in a variety of positive economic ways should be a matter of common applause. Instead, it is being twisted into a class-warfare guilt trip.
Calling for all Americans to respect our flag and our anthem is hardly divisive. Proposing immigration reform that includes an olive branch path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants in return for future border security is a rational compromise to a long-festering problem.
Stoutly defending our country against the nuclear threat of North Korea, inflamed by a too-soft approach for two decades, is hardly a divisive approach. Pushing for modernization and repair of the nation’s infrastructure, increased benefits and praise for our veterans, paid maternity leave, and the defeat of ISIS should not prompt sitting on hands with dour looks.
Trump’s opponents like to use the talking point that he makes everything about himself. In reality, the scorecard from his 90-minute speech shows “we” was used 129 times, “our” 121 times and “I” a mere 21 times.
In fact, the centerpiece of his address was the introduction of several heroes and victims in the audience to underscore things they had done or endured in relation to gang violence, protection of our country and its citizens and trumpeting of a renewal of patriotism. The guests were black and white, young and old, male and female.
Their integral part in the State of the Union address should have left a lasting, positive tone on our country this morning, but it was dulled by the contrived negativity of Trump’s political foes.
We understand political opposition and partisanship. It comes with our democracy and there should be no expectation that Democrats would express like for everything they heard Tuesday night. But misplaced disrespect for things that all Americans should feel good about won’t bring our country together and those that practice it should not be rewarded at the ballot box, where all Americans get to speak each year as a monument to our freedom.