If you were to walk up to someone on the street and ask, “how do you feel about the current state of our country?” you would probably get a shrug, maybe a puzzled expression or quite possibly a discouraged sigh.
These sentiments, however, were not directly expressed in President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address Tuesday evening.
The lighting was good. The room was full. The audience applauded at all the right moments. Trump, known for abrasive and often off-script speeches, stayed on track during his address — a rather unexpected occurrence.
Trump began the speech by saying, “I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.”
His speech included an array of topics. Trump spoke on Iran, North Korea and ISIS, spending time on the pursuit of nuclear capabilities.
“We are restoring clarity about our adversaries,” Trump said.
Trump touted tax reform and a growing economy along with military spending and infrastructure. All of these were framed with a positive spin and a suggested applause.
It is standard to hear a State of the Union address that highlights the positives and pushes aside the negatives. It would be unheard of to hear the president of the United States ramble about the shortcomings of the country for an hour and 20 minutes.
Many politicians on both sides of the aisle and news outlets called this speech one of Trump’s finest. However, one speech does not rectify the 365 days of hate speech and questionable morals from the Trump administration.
Sure, some things may have become better in the last year, while others seem worse. But it is clear the nation, to many, seems more divided now than ever.
The America of 2018 did not need a speech filled with political agenda and how well Trump’s administration performed over the last year. Americans did not need the same old speech and praise. Americans needed real talk.
We needed to hear the state of our politics is worse than most have seen in a long time, but that it is fixable. Because, it is fixable — it has to be.
Hearing from the leader of our country is a great way to gauge where we stand. But we must remember to think outside the White House.
We probably won’t rectify the situations we have landed in by 2020 or even in the next decade. But chipping away at the country’s problems with physical action, rather than misguided speeches, is the only way to find real solutions.