Commentary: The State of the Union Address

Meital Fuksbrumer’20

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February 2, 2018. The annual address given by the President of the United States to Congress each year is called “The State of the Union Address.” The purpose of this speech is for the President to outline his legislative plans, present a budget management plan, define the nation’s priorities, and inform the nation of the current economic status of the country. It is an extremely important event for the President, and on January 30, 2018, President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union Address.
Firstly, he expressed his excitement about the state of the economy, and praised American workers. He also mentioned the tax cuts he established. Then, he discussed his budget plan, and stated that he wants a 1.5-trillion-dollar spending bill for the purpose of reconstructing America’s crumbling infrastructure. He plans to rebuild roads, bridges, waterways, and railroads. While his plans seem to be positive, between providing funding for cleaning up after the various hurricanes and natural disasters, the national budget would need to be significantly increased to support these plans: something it is not clear that America can afford. He also talked about giving the military more money. Yet, he also wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. These ideas need to be prioritized so that US financial reserves are not spread too thin.
A large portion of his speech focused on his immigration plan, a topic extensively discussed during his campaign. He brought up again the idea of building a wall on the Mexican border, as well as to entirely change the current immigration system. One idea being debated is allowing citizenship to 1.8 million “Dreamers,” children who arrived into the US illegally when they were very young, but are now established here and are functioning as productive, moral, and educated people. President Trump also wants to stop the visa lottery, which randomly gives out green cards without concern for skill level or merit. The President has called instead for a merit-based immigration program. Arguably most extreme, he called for the end of the family visa, a program in which a citizen of the United States can sponsor a foreign family member for a visa. Trump demands that this visa be limited to a spouse and any children who are minors.
I am definitely supportive of granting citizenship to the Dreamers, innocents who were involved in a crime they had no choice but to be a part of. Additionally, ending the green card lottery is good, as currently, there is too much war and violence to be letting in people at random. America should take in educated men and women who can contribute to the economy, the workforce, and academia. After reading up on family-visa laws, I also agree with his decision. While bringing in immediate family is necessary, any other family members should be admitted to the US only if they merit it.
Regarding healthcare, President Trump proudly mentioned that he has repealed most of Obamacare. Moreover, he addressed the opioid epidemic and rampant drug addiction issues. He expressed the need to tighten regulations on drug dealers in order to help prevent overdoses and addictions. Obamacare is the least of my concerns. I am more worried about the people who now don’t have healthcare. Whether it is Obamacare or Trumpcare doesn’t matter as much as the individuals who are in danger. President Trump needs to place a temporary program in place to protect these people who are lacking healthcare insurance. Concerning his plan to crack down on drug dealers to solve the drug issue, I believe that is merely a small aspect of a larger issue. While I agree that strengthening the laws for dealers are important, Trump needs to fix the root of the crisis: drugs and addicts. We need to prevent drugs from entering the country, make rehab centers easily accessible, and of course, stop the drug dealers. Opioids specifically need to be severely limited in hospitals, and we cannot allow doctors to widely prescribe patients opioids.
President Trump also addressed his decision to support Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Afterwards, he mentioned the dozens of countries in the UN that condemned his decision. He then beseeched Congress to pass legislation that will limit America’s foreign assistance funds only to America’s allies. Another two important countries were referenced: Iran and North Korea. Trump urged Congress not to back down from using maximum force to stop the violence that could ensue. I am extremely proud that Trump has stood his ground on Israel, a country largely unsupported by the UN. The tiny country needs all the allies it can procure, and I am pleased to see Trump stepping up and defending it. Iran and North Korea need to be dealt with, obviously. While his pleas to Congress were valid, his tweets say otherwise. The situation with North Korea is delicate, and tweeting violent messages does not send a message of maturity or severity, but rather impulsivity.
Lastly, Trump told multiple touching stories about brave and heroic individuals who saved lives in the natural disasters that have struck recently in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, California, and more. Trump commended these people and empathized with those who are suffering. In one beautiful line, he said, “We are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.” He also brought up individuals who have greatly suffered either themselves, or through familial deaths. He praised these people for their resilience and bravery. His messages were beautiful and touching, his praise was personal and well spoken.
I was happily surprised with this unprovoking and well-delivered speech. President Trump expressed his opinions in a clear and sophisticated manner, which will hopefully continue in his future speeches.

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Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School
Commentary: The State of the Union Address