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The State of the American Union

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The State of the American Union

Rivka Krause '21

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On Tuesday, February 5th, President Donald Trump spoke to the nation in the State of the Union Address. This address came at the end of the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. History. Due to the shutdown, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi postponed the State of the Union from its original date of January 29th. It was rescheduled to February 5th once the government shutdown ended and a new deadline was issued.  

President Trump began his speech with rallying language and a call to end partisan divides in the name of American values. He called for an end of “revenge politics” and rallied for a future of bipartisan cooperation. Trump said, “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.” By saying this, Trump called for the end of the Mueller investigation and argued that said investigation is in the way of future legislation. Due to the nature of current American politics, it is very unlikely that there will be bipartisan cooperation when it comes to certain bills and issues. Furthermore, his statement was ironic because he would not allow the government to reopen without funding for a southern border wall, which is the opposite of bipartisan cooperation.

As is common in State of the Union addresses, President Trump highlighted many of his political points with moving stories about invited guests. For example, Grace Eline, a ten year old cancer survivor, was introduced after Trump described his plan to lower drug prices. Additionally, he highlighted the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S. by honoring Tree of Life shooting first responder, Timothy Matson, as well as Holocaust and shooting survivor, Judah Samet. Many of the stories that were shared were emotional and therefore achieved Trump’s goal of igniting feelings of sympathy about issues that may not affect the average American.

During the address, the powerful imagery of the female members of Congress wearing suffragette white was hard to ignore. The Women’s Labor Union invited both Democratic and Republican women to wear white in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. During the majority of the address, they sat stoically and did not applaud any of Trump’s statements. However, when Trump highlighted the increase in female employment, and that there is currently the highest number of female Congress members in U.S. History, the congresswomen joined Nancy Pelosi in an enthusiastic applause.

        President Trump  concluded the address by returning to his opening message of bipartisan unity, stating that without said unity, Congress will never be able to pass bills that would benefit the majority of Americans. Republicans, unsurprisingly, applauded Trump’s address and agreed with all his points. Democrats, on the other hand, did not approve of President Trump’s rhetoric. Now we shall see if this message of partisan unity is heeded in the future. Some Ma’ayanot students doubt that the unity will last. Sophomore Rivka Yellin feels that the speech seemed like a rallying cry for partisan unification but that said unification won’t last for hot topic issues, like the wall. Sophomore Dina Halberstam complained about the length of the speech, stating that she wasn’t surprised that people fell asleep while listening. Hopefully, this bipartisan unity will last a lot longer than the speech.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/02/06/691948681/trump-highlights-health-agenda-and-vows-to-lower-unfair-drug-prices

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/06/691870683/7-takeaways-from-president-trumps-state-of-the-union-address

https://m.jpost.com/American-Politics/Pittsburgh-massacre-Holocaust-survivors-honored-at-State-of-Union-Address-579822

 

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The State of the American Union