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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Christmas in January: "Watching" $tate of the Union Address 2009

As I do every year, at the moment I am watching the Presidential State of the Union Address. And by "watching" I mean that, per my usual custom, I have my back turned to the television so that I'm not tuned in to the imagery at all. Stripped of the visual component, my brain is more keenly listening to what Barack Obama is really saying.

So what do I think? He is definitely far more articulate and presidential-sounding than George W. Bush. Unfortunately he's talking about wasting money just as bad as Bush ever did.

(And as an aside, I miss tuning in to this without the live and uncommonly wise commentary of young master Kyle Williams. Hey Kyle, I know you're reading this: it's way past time for you to start a blog or something 'cuz I still get lots of e-mail from people asking how you're doing and wanna read more of your thoughts! :-)

Anyway, Obama is more than keeping up the tradition of what I call "Christmas in January". And nothing of this speech so far has anything to do with the real state of the union. In fact, I can't recollect any President since Ronald Reagan who ever took this yearly ritual seriously. It doesn't even have to be an annual event: the Constitution only calls for the President to relay his observations on the condition of the country from time to time. And it need not be a live speech, either: for a very long time the President simply sent a letter to Congress containing his State of the Union thoughts. But nowadays, it's not much more than guaranteed airtime for whoever is President, to shill for himself. And doesn't it say how shallow our country is when it's expected that "the other party" give us a "response"? I mean, the State of the Union...whatever, is not defined in the Constitution as a political event at all.

Color me apathetic if you wish, but I'm gonna say it: American mainstream politics has become an activity for either the weak and timid, or the strong and corrupt. It is not a thing that endears itself to those who choose to think and act on their own.

Okay, that's my rant for this year's State of the Union. Hope y'all who thought that I wouldn't be as hard on Obama as I was on Bush, are happy now...