Trump’s State of the Union didn’t match up with reality

Donald Trump's first State of the Union didn't address the real tensions and inequality that are ubiquitous in America.

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Trump’s State of the Union didn’t match up with reality

D. Myles Cullen, via whitehouse.gov, public domain

D. Myles Cullen, via whitehouse.gov, public domain

D. Myles Cullen, via whitehouse.gov, public domain

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Donald Trump hasn’t delivered an amazing performance during his first year in office. He gave his first State of the Union on January 30, 2018, during his speech, he fit in some lies and tried to make a sales pitch; two things that don’t work in government.

With a speech lasting almost an hour and a half, Donald Trump had a lot to talk about. He constantly was trying to sell an “American dream,” immigration control, and his tax plans.

Trump was trying to bring a message of unity in his speech. Trump to be promoting unity is pretty ironic; some viewed this as a turning point for Trump while others saw this as a ploy. Trump is the same person who took forever to acknowledge that Puerto Rico needed our help, and once he did pay attention, he showed up and just tossed paper towel rolls into the crowd. During his speech, he addressed Puerto Rico like the Federal Government was a major help when it really wasn’t. Not only has Trump ignored a United States Territory in need, he did not condemn white supremacists to parade the streets, this is not normal.

When he addressed the government, the Republicans were constantly standing up and clapping for Trump. The Democrats sat and stared blankly, remembering the disgraceful acts that Trump had done.

During the speech, he focused on his biggest and possibly only achievement in office; the tax cuts. In a State of the Union address, The president addressed what has happened in the past year, how the country is doing at the given moment, and then the plans for the new year. Trump could barely get past his one successful piece of legislation; he focused on his tax cuts a majority of the speech, and once he finished focusing on that he discussed his campaign promise: building a wall.

Reactions from Republicans seemed staged—they spent large parts of their time standing up and down clapping for Trump and at one point began chanting “USA USA USA,” they were nearly bowing down to him by the end. “[great dictator] That’s how he feels of himself,” said Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC Morning Joe.

Trump could barely get past his one successful piece of legislation;”

— Mia Rheineck

After nearly an hour and a half of storytelling and clapping, Joe Kennedy, Representative of the Fourth Congressional District in Massachusetts, gave one of five responses to the State of the Union. Kennedy delivered his speech from a vocational high school in Fall River, Massachusetts. A city that he said was “proudly built by immigrants.”

Kennedy was articulate, displayed a deep love for the country, and grew with passion in each sentence he spoke. Kennedy pointed out each flaw the Trump Administration created: Russia being “knee deep” in our democracy, a fractured country, and that this administration has caused anxiety, anger, and fear in the American people.

He spoke about how school shootings, church shootings, and that white supremacists don’t represent America. Rather we are the people who stand for others and hard workers, we are all deserving of dignity. “For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with but something you measure. By your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size,” Kennedy said.

He then points out that Trump has made living in America a zero-sum game, where if you want to be on top someone else has to be sacrificed. The administration targets us all.

Kennedy leads on to explain that the American promise of dignity, worth, and value has been broken by Donald Trump. The Justice Department is not valuing civil liberties, and our country is suffering for it. America should make the choice to keep Dreamers and help sick children, but that is not something Trump is willing to do. In his speech Kennedy made a point that in America, no one is left behind; no matter your race, background, income, or status you have a place. The Trump administration has forgotten people.

Where Trump had celebrated tax cuts and the economy, Kennedy made critiques. That we should be choosing a better deal for everyone, where there is a living wage, paid leave, healthcare with mercy, and an economy that is able to admit that CEOs making about 300 times more than the average employee is not okay. He then shows that our story is made from our ancestors who fled their countries because of oppression, the movement for independence, equality movements, and our story is not stopping here.

Then speaking in Spanish, Kennedy addressed the group Trump left behind; the Dreamers. “To all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar. You are part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away,” Kennedy said.

After addressing the Dreamers, he pointed out the marches and protests against Trump’s policies. “You swarmed Washington last year to ensure no parent has to worry if they can afford to save their child’s life. You sat high atop your mom’s shoulders and held a sign that read: “Build a wall and my generation will tear it down.” Kennedy said. As he said these words it was clear he truly cares for the American people, no matter what.

Throughout his speech, Kennedy was delivering what a State of the Union should sound like. Telling the truth, delivering hope, and discussing where we need to go and how we should get there. Kennedy addressed the fact that what Trump is doing is not normal and that us as people should not let this change us for good. “Bullies may land a punch. They might leave a mark. But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy’s closing focused on us serving, aiding, healing, and rescuing are what will take us towards progress, not hate, bigotry, and racism. He wants the American people to have faith because our union is resilient and hopeful.

Donald Trump has divided this country and done the unimaginable. But the minute he addressed the country, he acted like his mistakes were gone. Kennedy held Trump responsible. While Trump spent his time lying and threatening, Kennedy brought light and hope. The state of our union should not be determined by one man and his ego, but rather by the people working for a better future so history does not end up repeating itself.

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