As undignified as it is unedifying and unnecessary, the vulgar State of the Union circus is again at our throats. The document that the Constitutional Convention sent forth from Philadelphia for ratification in 1787 was just 4,543 words long, but this was 17 too many. America would be a sweeter place if the Framers had not included this laconic provision pertaining to the president: “He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union.”
“Information”? Not exactly.
The Constitution’s mild requirement has become a tiresome exercise in political exhibitionism, the most execrable ceremony in the nation’s civic liturgy, regardless of which party’s president is abusing it. You worship bipartisanship? There is not a dime’s worth of difference between the ways the parties try to milk partisan advantage from this made-for-television political pep rally. Continue reading
by Linda Feldmann
Ju Hong’s voice rang out loud and clear, interrupting the most powerful man in the world.
“You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country!” the young South Korean man yelled at President Obama during a speech on immigration reform last November in San Francisco. Waving away security guards, Mr. Obama turned and addressed Mr. Hong, himself undocumented. “Actually, I don’t,” the president said. “And that’s why we’re here.”
“We’ve got this Constitution, we’ve got this whole thing about separation of powers,” Obama continued. “So there is no shortcut to politics, and there’s no shortcut to democracy.”
The reality isn’t so simple. Continue reading
Protect and pass on lovingly that shining city on a hill.
by Scott L. Vanatter
The gnawing dullness of Carter’s malaise had pretty well set in by late 1980. Ronald Reagan’s growing, optimistic campaign for the presidency culminated with his clear “Vision for America” described in an election eve address on November 3, 1980.
With a gentle touch, Reagan began, “The election will be over soon, autumn will become winter, this year will fade into next . . . and yet, the decisions we make tomorrow will determine our country’s course through what promises to be one of the most perilous decades in our history.” Continue reading