24 Jan 2007
Civics 101 - The State of the Union Address
Did you watch it? Isn't it your American duty to have watched it? And cheered along?
I remember my history teacher in 10th grade telling the class that we should be paying attention to things like these. And for good reason: the State of the Union is the premier policy-making address that a President will make during the year. So here's a little breakdown. The President will:
1) hold to his guns on Iraq;
2) continue No Child Left Behind;
3) acknowledge that the temperature is changing;
4) develop an immigration policy that doesn't give a free pass to everyone here, but puts them on the road to citizenship;
5) fund fuel projects such as ethanol; and
6) be patriotic.
Frankly I can't remember anything else right now. I was much more entertained by finding these photos and by C-SPAN 2's coverage. Yup - not only was I not watching the speech on any of the networks, I wasn't even watching on C-SPAN! I got to see the important people ushered in beforehand, like the Supreme Court justices. Plus, afterwards, the reporter was catching congresspeople as they came out to run the press gauntlet. He would turn off the microphone, get their information, and then turn on the mic and introduce the congressperson to the TV audience. The result was it seemed as if they were long time friends or that the reporter was so bright that he could just spot id everyone in congress and give the three small towns they represent. Pretty fun. I flipped over to C-SPAN and they were just catching the "I know everyone" part of these interviews and filling in the middle with call-in comments.
All-in-all a capital (har) job by the C-SPAN 2 reporter I thought. He asked only about three questions all night, and kept the crowd moving (and, thus, the viewer interested): "What did you stand and clap for," "What about Iraq," and then some follow-on question.
Bipartisan applause was apparent for Bush's alternative fuel policy, his immigration policy, and his patriotism. His description of the New York City guy who jumped onto the subway tracks to grab somebody else and hold him down as the train passed overhead gave me goose bumps. The gentleman was in the audience, too.
I need to draw your attention to some comments from Gregg Easterbrook, the writer of Tuesday Morning Quarterback on ESPN.com. The entire following paragraph is his and can be found here. Just hilarious.
"Finally, it's normal to blink like crazy on television. Watch even professional newscasters and sportscasters, as they face the camera they blink constantly - viewers zone the blinking out. Last night during the State of the Union address, George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney were facing the camera. Speaker Pelosi blinked non-stop. The president blinked frequently. Cheney never blinked. Check a video. Increasingly I fear that 'Richard Cheney' is the host of a slug-like alien symbiot creature that has been implanted in his body and controls his brain."
So next year look to watch the State of the Union and be the envy of all your friends the next day. You'll be able to give the ins and outs of US policy and will have forgotten all the congresspeople you saw and what they said in about two seconds, but you'll feel more American for having done so! Two cheers for the State of the Union!