What the cameras don’t show at the State of the Union address—and what should be done about this annual national embarrassment

Dennis Prager tells about “The One Thing You Won’t See on TV at the State of the Union.” It’s pretty surprising.

In any case, or in many cases, Prager is indeed speaking about you, not about me, since I haven’t watched a State of the Union address in years, and I would urge you not to watch tonight’s either. As long as I can remember, the SOU has been nothing but a series of applause lines, a decadent and unedifying exercise in crowd manipulation—the crowd being the Congress and people of the United States.

And under Obama it’s become far worse. Last year the SOU was an occasion for shockingly thuggish behavior, worthy of a banana republic or medieval Florence, by the president and the Democrats against a Supreme Court justice who was a guest at the proceedings; and this year it will be an occasion for the very opposite, with Democratic and Republican members going on “civility dates” to the SOU where they will sit together in pairs with a member of the other party demonstrating tolerance, consensus, love, and, of course, civility. This is progressing from the Saddam Hussein-like treatment of Justice Alito last year to behavior worthy of a kindergarten. My gosh, the rest of the world already thinks we’re a childish country because grown congressmen recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day in the House of Representatives; what will they think of us when they see congressmen “buddied-up” like small children? Any Republican who is foolish enough to go on one of these “dates,” who fails to see how demoralizing this specacle will be to the Republican base, who lacks the firmness to decline to participate in this absurd and manipulative demonstration of “civility,”—“civility” meaning the abolition of forceful conservative opposition to liberalism—should be hounded out of the party.

Also, any member of the public who supports Justice Alito’s non-attendance this year because of the way he was insulted and ganged up on last year, should not watch the address himself.

Beyond ignoring the SOU, here is the long-term solution: the country should return to the custom followed by every president from Thomas Jefferson to William Howard Taft (a period of 112 years, just over half of our 222 years under the Constitution): the president sends a written address to the Congress, rather than delivering the address in person.

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LA writes:

Two clarifications: “Saddam Hussein-like treatment” is a reference to the infamous video of an Iraq government meeting circa 1980 when Hussein, speaking at the dais, singled out one of his ministers as a traitor and had him escorted from the room. The man was later executed. Of course Justice Alito was not executed, but the iconography of the president at the dais denouncing a Supreme Court justice by name, followed by the Democratic congressmen who were all sitting around Alito standing up and applauding the president’s attack on Alito, while Alito sat there, isolated and stunned, was strikingly reminiscent of the scene in Iraq. It was something utterly foreign to the American political experience; it showed how the Democratic party is no longer a legitimate poitical party, but a leftist criminal gang with a criminal mentality.

Also, while the “civility dates” seem on the surface to be the opposite of the thuggish treatment of Alito last year, in fact they serve the same purpose: to isolate and marginalize anyone who doesn’t do what the Democrats want.

Larry G. writes:

You do realize why the Democrats want the seating mixed up, don’t you? It is to disguise the fact that only a minority of the Congress will stand and clap for the President’s applause lines and policy proposals. The traditional division seating would show that clearly. [LA replies: That could be a factor, but I don’t think it’s that evident on camera whether the applauding party is the bigger or the smaller party.]

I will not be watching. I refuse to be lied to by this fraudulent man that foolish people were gulled into electing. And I hope the only members of the Court present are the three liberal women. [LA replies: Really, for any member of the Court to attend this year’s speech after what happened last year would be a disgrace. But next best to none of the Justices coming, would be just the three liberal women coming.]

Doug H. writes:

I was glad to see you address this spectacle. When I heard they were doing this, I just thought, “The Republicans will never grow a backbone. They will never realize just how much the left despises them.”

Like you, I have not watched a state of the union address in years, not since Reagan.

Buck O. writes:

The absent Justices won’t be needed. After all, can’t this gaggle of cross-pollinating congressmen/congresswomen, most of whom are lawyers, certify their own civil unions or domestic(ating) partnerships?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 25, 2011 08:57 AM | Send

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