I was going to do a full-analysis blog on the State of the Union (SoTU), but I didn’t have the heart to really listen to it and report on the BS.  If you’re interested, you can check out the Politifact report on it.  Of course, there are those who claim Politifact is left-biased, which was disputed by a Media Bias/Fact Check report.  This group also did their own analysis of 45’s statements.  And they also provided a list of his statements by topic which was probably a much more efficient way to hear his address than actually watching it with all that crazy hand-clapping that’s always involved.  And surprisingly, it seems many approved of the speech, according to a CNN poll.  [Not so surprising in the end, as you’ll read later.]

So why am I so disheartened?

SNL did a skit recently called “What Even Matters Anymore” and it really got me thinking, “Does Anything Really Matter?”  I mean, we see so much for which we need action or redress but… mostly things just stay broken and more things seem to be broken all the time.  Nothing seems to be getting done.  And it seems like no one cares.  Here are the topics from the SNL skit, none of which truly ends up mattering:

  • 45 referring to Shithole Countries and all Haitians having AIDS – Nope!  Just another day in the news cycle.  A funnier than normal news day watching everyone say “s-hole” and tittering, but no real consequences for 45.
  • 45 has an affair with a porn star, just after his wife has a baby, and then pays said porn star a substantial amount of hush money – Nope!  Even his Evangelicals supporters have managed to justify this as a non-issue.
  • 45 fires Robert Mueller – ok, this one hasn’t happened yet, but when it does, will it really matter?

I asked Dan after this episode of SNL which also featured Mueller (played by Kate McKinnon) insinuating there really is something coming on 45… and it’s BIG, “Do you really think anything will ever come of all that?”  I mean, we’ve been hearing about this investigation for a LONG time.  We even had four people charged… months ago.  But nothing has really happened that has had much meaning for our government.

And I’m disheartened by the things that we do hear in the news, or don’t, that I believe should be raising our levels of concern.  Like what?

And that’s just in the US.  What about craziness around the world?  I just can’t start listing on these lines… too depressing.

I did watch the Democrat response… because it was shorter, would have less hand clapping disruptions (though the first three or four lines in the speech almost had me giving up on that being true), and I heard there was actual speaking to Hispanics in their native tongue – something I always like to see.  The thing that most surprised me?  There was a topic bar on the left side of ABC’s screen letting you know what part of the speech we were in… “American Spirit”, “Year of Chaos”, “Disunity”, “Unity”… what I realized was a guide to know when the speech was going to be over.  Is this because the attention span of the average American is so short we need to let them know “it’s almost over”?  The good news was that this was a young Dem, albeit a Dynasty Dem, which perhaps cancels out his legitimacy.  Though I am not sure Dems have much hopes for this year, if they continue to not look in the mirror to see where they have gone wrong in the last couple decades.  Unless we get the money out of politics, We the People have little hope of being heard or  helped by the Powers that Be, regardless of their party affiliation.

So, can I give any input on the SoTU address?  Well…

I decided to go ahead and read 45’s speech.  I know, I know!  That means I missed all the times when he went off-script, and yes, those are often the funniest (or scariest) moments, though I hear he pretty much stayed to the Teleprompter this time.

Overall, it sounds pretty good.  There is much to like in the speech.  As long as you don’t think too hard about what he leaves unsaid, or what his word choices imply.  Oh, and if you excuse the exaggeration and outright lies.  Oh! And forget how many of his campaign promises remain unfulfilled.

  • 45 boasted about his “biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history” (see above link) because, well, what else is there that’s been accomplished during his administration?  Yeah, that’s about it.
  • 45 speaks to “citizens”… implying those among us who are visiting or on VISAs, like students or migrant workers, are not included.
  • 45’s refers,  to “America first”, amazingly only once in this address.  What I wonder is, is it akin to the 1940’s isolationist attitudes or the KKK slogan? 

  • 45 speaks to the police and military (and veterans) deserving our “unwavering support”.  But many of these officials are used in the protection of corporate interests and not the interests of the people or the planet.
  • 45 speaks of “actions to protect religious liberty” that many read as a call to make laws that allow refusal of medical treatment for abortion and birth control along with rights to refuse a variety of services to LGBTQ people.
  • 45 boasts about eliminating regulations.  But what does he think keeps corporations in check with regard to our environment and worker rights?  Remember when we used to not have regulations on releases from manufacturing plants and our rivers were so polluted that they caught on fire?  Remember, before OSHA, when workers were regularly and fatally injured in workplace incidents because business as usual was cheaper than implementing safety programs?
  • 45 talks about “All Americans” deserving “accountability and respect” and then immediately calls on Congress to “reward good workers” and “remove Federal employees who undermine public trust or fail the American people”.  But who defines undermining public trust?  What about Edward Snowden, who has recently been in the news again)?  45 says he should be executed but he was one of the biggest patriots for the American People since Daniel Ellsberg.  Which reminds me, go see The Post and then check out the Oliver Stone’s Snowden (a docudrama with a lovely storyline, though partially fictionalized) or  Citizenfour, a true documentary on his final days of freedom and his heroic whistleblowing.  And again, “Americans” implies no allegiance to foreign visitors or immigrants not yet fully recognized as citizens.
  • 45 mentions FDA approval of “more new and generic drugs and medical devises than ever before in our history”.  How many of these things will later be proven dangerous or even fatal due to quick and incomplete study?
  • With regard to opioid concerns, 45 says we “must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers”.  Are they going to start arresting more doctor’s?  Or pharmaceutical manufacturers?  Or just the people pushing these drugs on the streets?
  • And is anyone concerned that 45’s order of dealing with “terrorists” being 1) annihilate them and THEN, 2) when “necessary” detain and question them?

Yes he made many promises that sound good:

  • Expanding US Manufacturing
  • Cheaper prescription drugs
  • Infrastructure investment
  • Vocational schools
  • Paid family leave

But there has been some criticism.  Some pretty well stated.

I keep thinking, this is just performance art for the People – going through the motions of saying pretty things.  I keep wondering if this is what Democracy Dying looks like.  Nothing is getting done, at least nothing that is making life much better for the majority of people, especially the working class.  Nothing is being done to mitigate our effects on the environment.  Mostly just more and more wealth transfer to the already wealthy.  Less regulation to free up Corporations to save money by taking shortcuts with the environment and worker safety.  Little actions to help veterans, children, the working poor, the elderly, immigrants, disabled people.

America is an oligarchy.  Our “democracy” is basically up for sale.  Until we get the money out of politics, I suspect we will continue to see more of the same.

There are some good things…

  • Millions marched in the Women’s March this year, more than last year in many locations, including Bemidji. But are we really making a difference?  Watching part of the Grammy Awards seemed to be more exploiting of women than ever, though there were exceptional performances, specifically by P!nk.  Maybe the elections in 2018 will tell.  I’m hopeful to see many women candidates win seats in our government, at all levels.
  • Macklemore owning his White Privilege, again, and challenging us on ours.
  • We’ve declared Eastern Mountain Lions extinct.  Isn’t this bad news?  Well, maybe not as perhaps states will now, unencumbered by laws regarding Endangered species, re-introduce big cats from the West… to cull excessive population of deer, who have few natural predators.
  • And one more.  One word.  Logic.  Check this out – watch until the end.

OK.  I think I can keep going now.

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