Thursday, January 25, 2007

The State of Union's Demise

The real problem with the State of the Union is the amount of faith America has in a significant rite of democracy. I see three main camps of faith: one that simply hates Bush and everything he does, another that adores the man, and eye-rollers.

In theory, deep down at our democratic core, we should be excited! Here's our elected leader fulfilling his responsibility to the people--providing a report on, you know, what's been up and how we've been doing. All forty-three Presidents have made State of the Union speeches (it's in the constitution)!

But most viewers were not so excited. They made fun of Bush's smirk, his greying hair, and took advantage of every time he stumbled on a word to show why he's unfit to be President.

Sadly, it gets worse, for there is a portion of this country who did the opposite last night. They sat in front of their hero with grins as wide as Rush Limbaugh's belt laid out, and they nodded with confidence and faith.

For me, last night was different. I somehow transcended the whole event--not that it was hard, I simply didn't believe anything he said.

As I watched Bush speak--and saw congresspeople stand up and sit down unconvincingly like when a few members of an audience coerce the rest into demanding an encore--I reached a level of almost tantric un-cynicism.

I mean get real. The entire event is synthetic and has been for a while now. Bush didn't write his speech. He didn't memorize it (just the opposite, he gets rehearsal time AND teleprompters). He sure as hell didn't perform it either, like Churchill might have. And meanwhile, the congresspeople put their sudokus inside their copies of the speech and count down the minutes--"Damn, he's on energy already? Time's flying by!" The speech itself is so boring it deserves a PowerPoint. This isn't solely Bush's fault. Why should I be angry at him for the way our country's most important speech has descended into a lecture?

The fact of the matter is that past the initial veneration of the coiffured ceiling, the big American flag, and the gavel--I just love gavels--the State of the Union is emptier than a monitor sans computer. There's no substance, no personality. The stats are misconstrued, the appeals to emotion via freedom overused, and the language weak and opaque.

Man, I wish I were alive for just one of Lincoln's speeches, or sat by a fireside for one FDR address during WWII. At least then I could react to the voice of the most powerful man in the world instead of just rolling my eyes. And rolling my eyes...and

DJ Bush--give me something to dance to!