On Tuesday, Feb. 5th, nearly 47 million people tuned in to watch President Trump give his third State of the Union address. A general feeling of dismay in our government and especially our President has been popular (even more than normal) as of late. However, I think we owe it to our nation to pay attention to what President Trump put forth in his speech. Perhaps what he said could even serve to bring us together, even if we are rallying around past mistakes.
One thing President Trump was adamant about was the success of the First Step Act. Our law and order President has chosen to get right on crime, or at the very least, start heading in that direction. Trump praised the First Step Act, saying that it “gives nonviolent offenders the chance to reenter society as productive, law-abiding citizens.” This may not have been what we expected from President Trump, nonetheless, it seems to me it might be just what we need. This first step is the right step towards a more comprehensive criminal justice reform. As the President said, “America is a nation that believes in redemption.” Perhaps it’s time we start acting like it.
Second, was President Trump’s handling of the border security issue. In the past, Trump has been aggressive at best concerning this issue. Whether it was saying that Mexico will pay for the wall or allowing the government shut down to go on as long as it did. This time, however, he seemed to approach it from a slightly different angle.
Trump implored Congress to work with him on a comprehensive strategy to secure the border. While maintaining that “Legal immigrants enrich our nation,” and that he “want[s] people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever.” It just has to be done legally. Perhaps, it is the case that the sentiment of this wall is not about keeping people out, but rather, about bringing people in the right way. Perhaps it is about a sense of nationhood, an American Creed, an American Identity—into which we ought to welcome people, legally.
Third, was President Trump’s support of the culture of family and life which many have been calling to be instilled in America today. President Trump said, “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth — all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.” Furthermore, it was not just pro-life talk but, what seemed to be, genuine pro-family talk.
President Trump proclaimed himself as the “first president to include in [his] budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave — so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.” While little information is given about this piece of the budget, it seems that this is something President Trump may offer to help bridge the gap between left and right on issues of family. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.
The last thing I want to discuss here is the general sentiment of President Trump’s speech. The President, in the first few minutes of his speech, said: “Victory is not winning for a party, victory is winning for our country.” This was the general feeling Trump seemed to be attempting to portray in his speech. One of coming together, working together, and being great together. President Trump called the state of our union strong—but is it? When was the last time you felt unified talking with someone across the political aisle?
Is our attacking each other on Facebook and Twitter really unifying us? The answer is no. If we really wish to live out the sentiment in President Trump’s speech, we have to come together on our common ground and realize that democracy, whether you like it or not, is about the common good. If we are to move forward as a nation both during and after the tenure of President Trump, we have to be willing to find common ground, to work together and to fight for the victory of our country, not our party.