Highs and Lows of the State of the Union

Braden Wong, Staff Writer

The evening of Jan. 30 marked an important point in U.S. history as President Donald J. Trump delivered his very first State of the Union Address. Mixed messages of divides and bipartisanship, blame and forgiveness, and dissolutions and agendas expectedly brought mixed responses that ultimately could be simplified to two sides—right or left. The partisan split was to be expected, but there seemed to be a heightened division in the audience, as signified by something interesting that the Democrats chose to do, or rather, not to do.


Even to an outsider, it was clear that the audience was polarized from the beginning to the end. Notably, while President Trump mentioned record-low African American unemployment rates and universal wage raises, the corresponding Congressional Black Caucus and entire Democratic Party had stony faces and did not join the standing ovation. While, admittedly, this record low is only the culmination of a trend that began during the Obama administration, this blatant disavowal of the work President Trump has achieved points to a more dangerous refusal to cooperate with any aspect of the current presidency.

Parties are changing their identities, to the point of losing them. No matter what partisan affiliation you may have, it is clear that a developing political divide will come back to bite the American people very soon. The unwillingness of the Democratic Party to display any interest or enthusiasm, even when its own agenda is directly mentioned, suggests the past narrative of “champions of change and the people” has been exchanged for an Anti-Republican one. Ironically, in a reversal of roles, they are the ones who are resisting the change, not the Republicans. But do they still embody the interests of the American people?

Of course, that doesn’t mean President Trump has been an angel this entire time. The full satisfaction of both sides is nearly impossible in any administration, and there is always reason for protest. But for Democrats, denouncing Republicans can prove to be very costly. A lesson often overlooked by them is more important than ever to be realized now—that they cannot operate on their own and need conservative support behind their agendas. The very nature of change, impossible as it may be to enact, is possible with cooperation, concessions, and compromise. Thus, perhaps it is time for them to put their grudges aside and put the spirit in union, because it’s better to embrace change and receive a compromise than stay stubborn and get no results.