There is nothing more jarring than watching an undeserving party get enthusiastic applause.
It even feels worse when the subject involved is the president of the United States.
Even ten days after the speech, the image of Republicans cheering at blatantly false statements is enough to kickstart a migraine.
“We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs — something which almost everyone said was impossible to do…”
President Trump said to thunderous applause.
Let’s be frank, the number of jobs does not matter.
If there are many jobs created but a significant number of these leave people underemployed, what is the true story?
Another lie issued by Trump on the status of the southern border:
“This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well‑being of all Americans.”
The roots of fears about the southern wall trace back to the early 1970s.
Leonard Chapman Jr, a former Marine Corps general from the Second World War was tasked with taking over the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1972. During his five year tenure, he badgered Congress to stop what he termed as “the illegal alien problem” at the southern border.
These sentiments have been passed down through generations of lobbyists, legislatures and think tanks for both parties until Stephen Miller and Stephen Bannon pressed this into Trump’s official policy.
Let’s talk about the real state of the union.
The real state of this imperfect union is that we as Americans are now in what the Russians termed as “hyper normalization” during the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
This term refers to the disinformation knowingly spread by those in power to fake a sense of a normal society while things fall apart, and due to the bombardment of this disinformation and over time this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We are not the greatest country in the world, period. Do we have the potential to be? Sure.
But it would require a level of soul searching that does not appear to be at hand at this point in the nation’s history.
The media, (yes this is pointing fingers at my own trade) has enabled this spread of lies because of a false sense of needing to portray normalcy.
In our personal lives, when someone habitually lies, we call them a liar out and out. We classify it for what it is and move on.
When the president or his merry band of puppet cabinet members espouse yet another false statement, we in the media have not called them liars and have done amazing mental and verbal gymnastics to avoid doing so.
While all of this is going on, we have racist scandals in the Democratic Party-held state of Virginia, where leaders felt that portraying black people using the gross caricature of “blackface” was acceptable in a yearbook publication.
In some twisted way, this is apropos for Black History Month because all we have done as a country is remind ourselves of our history, that we value power and the white man over doing the right thing.
That we as a country do not value the black and brown body, because to do that would require courage and broad changes in not only policy but mind and spirit.
Think about this: our country had an election exploited and hacked by an enemy in Russia that has been nipping at our heels since the days of the Cold War because there were citizens who would rather have their racist beliefs pried from their cold, dead fingers than listen to reason.
The real state of the union is that this country needs to hit rock bottom before we make the changes we desperately need, like investing in our future, making voting for everyone a priority and a national holiday and putting everyone to work in well-paying jobs that allow people to have a viable future.
The real state of our union is that we have allowed companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google to manipulate nearly all the facets of American life, and the antitrust laws and legislative committees designed to regulate these companies have been all but neutered.
We have politicians who are not current with the times, like Orrin Hatch, Utah senator demonstrated during the hearings on Facebook selling information to Cambridge Analytica.
Through policy, willful ignorance, neglect, racism and spite, we have created a nation that does not respect intellectualism, that allows economic and sociological disparity to run rampant.
We can and should do better as a country.
I do not say these things because I hate this country where my great-great grandparents sought refuge from the tyranny of Italy’s Mussolini during the ‘20s.
I say this because it begins with us as students.
We need to do better by each other first, and think about this question: Is this the country we really want?
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