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The Meadows School

Opinion: Everything Wrong With Trump’s State of Union Address

On January 30, Trump made his first State of the Union speech. He clapped loudly into the microphone every time he said something he deemed competent, while some democrats looked on in annoyance and clear disagreement. But despite his mostly pleasant demeanor, lack of calling countries “shitholes” or mocking disabled reporters, there were many concerns with his speech.

Trump began his speech by mentioning the tragedies that occurred over the past years, such as the hurricanes and shootings. He acknowledged the places that faced terrible destruction from the hurricanes: Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, California, and the Virgin Islands.

It’s nice that he can talk about how much he sympathizes for these places brutally affected by the hurricanes, but what has he done to show for it?

While some places received generous aid, Puerto Rico is still shambles, with 30 percent of the people living without electricity, and people living with unclean water. Puerto Rico is still painfully broke, with more than 200,000 people fleeing the country, but all Trump ever had to say was that it “wasn’t a real catastrophe” and to neglect sending adequate aid to Puerto Rico. Trump might claim to care about and be there for Puerto Rico, but his actions say quite otherwise.

Another major component missing from his speech was his neglecting to mention the Time’s Up movement or #MeToo movement. These movements have had huge effects all across the country, but Trump acted as if they simply did not happen.

This is not altogether surprising, as Trump is in fact a part of the perpetrators that these movements have been created to stop.

According to Vox, more than a dozen women have accused Trump of alleged sexual assault or rape, including his ex-wife.

As Congresswoman Lois Frankel stated at a news conference, “The #MeToo movement has arrived and sexual abuse will not be tolerated, whether it’s by a Hollywood producer, the chef of a restaurant, a member of Congress or the president of the United States. No man or woman is above the law.”

Despite what Trump has or hasn’t done for our country, the fact remains that he has faced few repercussions for his actions, as Congress has not attempted to investigate or look into these serious allegations. Trump’s speech just furthered the notion that he has little desire to give women the voice we so desperately need.

With horrific sexual misconduct cases faced with Harvey Weinstein and other celebrities, women need a voice more than ever to guarantee that this industry, and this country changes so that no woman ever has to face sexism again. Countless movements, and people, have been created to help give women a voice. Trump just hasn’t been one of them.

Finally, Trump’s State of the Union speech focused on the matter of undocumented immigrants. His strategy was indubitably and grossly clear: fear. His goal was to scare Americans into supporting every whimsical thing that came out of his mouth, which was abundantly clear when he debunked every immigrant to the status of being a criminal.

Not all immigrants should be punished for the actions of a few. Yes, there are problems with illegal immigration. Yes, some illegal immigrants turn out to be dangerous. But forcing out the lot of them for the actions of a few is impractical, expensive, and unwise.

Trump paints a pretty picture with his words, that equates immigrants to bad and Americans to good. But it isn’t quite as simple as that. What about the immigrants that came as children and have never known another life besides America? What about the parents that would be separated from their children if forced to leave? What about our farming industry, which largely depends on our immigrants?

All the problems we have faced with violence have been pushed onto the role of the “outsiders,” because it is easier to blame others than face the reality that it is our country, our people, our lives that are causing these tragedies all across the country. It is not just immigrants that have been involved in shootings, but people bred and born on American soil.

And we, as a people, deserve justice and reform for every child that has been killed in a shooting, for every innocent person who just wanted to enjoy a concert. Is Trump going to ban every middle-aged gambler or Caucasian high schooler in this country?

We, the cities who have faced so much trauma from shooters, deserve more than a passing mention in the State of Union address. We deserve more than empty words and condolences that don’t do anything to prevent future incidents.

Our country is broken. Both our gun control system and mental healthcare system are failing, and it clearly shows when only a month into 2018, there have already been about 20 mass shootings. And while Trump’s State of the Union speech had some valid points, it also didn’t mention that our country is not perfect. It is not whole. Trump might not have all the answers, but neglecting to mention the very real and pressing problems going on in the world just goes to show how dire of a situation our country truly is in.

1 Comment

  • Reply Douglas Campbell February 24, 2018 at 11:10 am

    You cover a lot of ground in your critique, and each element of it deserves a response. Here’s my response:
    a) Showing results when natural disasters occur: The President has the ability to declare disaster areas, and this President has done so; he has not left even California — which hates him viscerally — out. Furthermore, he signed into law a major increase in the budget and the deficit to address these disasters, even though he angered Republicans who want us to live within our means.
    b) Puerto Rico stumbled not because President Trump failed to deliver the goods, but because of the politics of division and spoils practiced by local Puerto Rican politicians. A mainland company successfully won the bidding let by Puerto Rico’s power authority to rebuild the damaged central transmission capabilities of the Puerto Rican electrical infrastructure. When Democrats found that the company was run by Republicans, they acted to strip the company of its contract, even though the company had acted diligently and was on track to complete the task in the mandated three month interval. Their claim was that the company was squandering the money they gave it by renting such things as Huey helicopters and paying overtime to mainland electrical workers certified to work high voltage transmission lines . In order to complete the replacement of downed infrastructure which traveled over mountains, the helicopters were needed, and the workers were needed because of the strict timetable Puerto Rico had written into the contract. In the end, the company had to suspend work because Puerto Rico was not paying its bills; the obvious reason why Puerto Rico was tardy was the political bent of those in control who wanted the company to fail so they could substitute their cronies.
    With regard to aid, the aid arrived, and the Mayor of San Juan also famously arrived to show that the gates to the dock facility were locked and the aid was just sitting there undistributed, and claimed that it could not be distributed because Trump hadn’t rebuilt the roads. She held a presser right in front of huge pallet-loads of supplies to show the plenty just sitting there, thus giving the obvious lie to any claim that no aid was forthcoming. Never mind that millions of dollars in aid requires at least one lock on the gates, and that other places, even in the absence of paved roads, managed the person-power to distribute aid. Never mind that road building is a local affair — to be managed with local resources. This was a classic sign of politics as usual, even when her opponent had suspended politics as usual. She was failing to lead, and blaming others for that failure.
    c) #metoo is not part of the State of our Nation. It is a minor political dragon (a major political dragon would be something like the Civil War) which is now eating its creators, who apparently have done exactly the things they claimed were exclusively a male privilege. When a female legislator at the forefront of “if you are accused, you must resign” is accused and doesn’t resign, the hypocrisy of the movement is quite obvious. You claim that Trump is part and parcel of this mess. Well, I think Trump had it absolutely right when he said that because of Hollywood’s culture, he could have his way with any major starlet if he chose. In the aftermath of #metoo, what Trump said is obviously correct — the actresses who got the parts from Harvey Weinstein did things that the actresses who didn’t get the parts wouldn’t do.. What’s even more obvious as time goes on is that Harvey wasn’t alone. We can see that in some #metoo’ers “I didn’t know” responses to things that to others were common knowledge — albeit common knowledge that they sat on until it was inconvenient. The only reason one would have been “ignorant” in the toxic environment Harvey Weinstein invented — an environment Trump knew existed — was because they were profiting from it. Trump told Access Hollywood it existed a decade ago, they got it on tape, and they did nothing with it until politically convenient to do so, and there you go — Access Hollywood, like the rest of Hollywood, was filled with enablers. And as for Congress investigating anything — particularly Democrats who appear to be much harder hit by the #metoo scandals — that’s worth a hearty laugh. Let the FBI or the local police do this — although even the FBI is now tainted by politics and can no longer be trusted to be objective.
    c) As for illegal immigration, President Obama knew that with DACA he was ignoring United States law on the matter of such immigration when he created the Executive Order on it. The first “D” of the acronym gives it away — it’s “Deferred”. That means action needs to be taken, but the time to take it is being moved out. President Trump has put all of that on to boil — he’s keeping DACA in place until the 5th of March in order to give Congress time to act. He’s stated his intent to enforce the laws of our land. He’s stated that he’s not only in favor of changing the law to provide an amnesty for the DACA applicants, but also to provide one for their peers who would have qualified but did not apply — which doubles the pool of people who would benefit from such an amnesty. He has met Democratic requirements and more, with significant push-back from anti-amnesty Republicans who want everyone who is here illegally deported — a position definitely in keeping with our current laws. So Trump would change the laws, and do the Democrats help him achieve what they’ve been saying they want? No, the Democrats move the goal posts and ask for that which Trump cannot give — a total amnesty — without forever alienating the anti-amnesty group in his own party — which he would depend upon to pass the laws he wants. He’s given to the Democrats everyone in DACA or who might have been had they applied, and he’s given to the anti-amnesty group no “chain migration”. He wants a Wall to prevent the problem from recurring. He’s set the parameters for the negotiations, and we shall see how Congress reacts. But remember that March 5 date — a date two weeks before the next budget vote is due. Trump is pushing for a “clean bill” on this by deliberately separating it from the budget negotiations. We shall see whether the Democrats see sense or throw the DACA recipients under the bus for some futile political posturing.
    d) With regard to violence, yes, it’s “our people” doing the violence. But which people are those? They certainly include illegal aliens, and I say that such lawbreakers ought to be ejected from our country after serving their prison terms. We’ve seen the results of letting them back onto the streets — good people die. So deporting these is no big deal to me, even if it is to progressives. I’m all for a path to citizenship for every illegal who’s in this country and has obeyed all of our laws except the immigration ones, and who have proven that they are willing to work in a legal fashion for our common American Dream. I’m for penalizing any of their employers who knowingly engaged them — that should not be hard, for the evidence will be under the table payments and nonpayment of payroll taxes. If an employer is raided, and the employees are not on the books, it’s the employer who should be punished.
    Progressives decry school massacres, but they use them to their own ends. Part of what breeds school massacres is the extensive reporting on them. If someone wants to make a point (and, admittedly, the points they are trying to make are insane), they know how to get every major daily newspaper and television network in the country to pay attention to them. Progressives are fixated on “gun-free zones” and we’ve already seen that gun-free zones don’t work without someone with a gun enforcing them. Progressives rail against the Second Amendment, but when they controlled the Presidency and both Houses of Congress, they did nothing to produce a new Amendment to supersede the Second. When a truck was used to kill 168 people, including an entire pre-school class, nobody railed against trucks or espoused a need to eliminate same from our streets and roads. But guns — like trucks, a tool which can be used for either offense or defense — are targeted by progressives for elimination, even as they know, hypocritically, that their desire will not be happening here as long as evil and the need to defend from it exists in the world. We Americans are unique in providing to our own people a right of defense against those who would harm them. Other countries without such a right of defense depend upon the police to defend them. Well, in the Stoneman Douglas case, we saw one possible result — four sheriff’s deputies remained just outside the school during the shooting, and did not enter even when the shooting was over; that took the local police department and its somewhat tardy response to the 911 call. So, when seconds mattered, we had both that the police were only minutes away, and, further that, even if they were only seconds away, they might not bother. In such an environment, a right of personal self-defense is indeed appropriate and wise. When we reduce teachers and administrators to engaging in hand to hand combat with a crazy criminal carrying a gun, we are dooming them to deathly heroics — which may suit the progressive thinkers just fine, but doesn’t suit reality. I submit that it isn’t Trump whose gambling with the lives you state and with all other lives in our country, it’s the progressives who would strip everyone of a right of defense against criminals. Are we to become like China, where not only are people denied a defense with guns, but even a defense with kitchen knives?
    e) Our failing mental healthcare system can be traced exactly to a victory won by the ACLU in 1975, a victory which led directly to the release of potentially violent detainees onto the streets. Our homeless problem is a partial result of this decision. It is exceedingly difficult in the post-O’Connor world to involuntarily confine anyone. So we must occasionally suffer wildfires which kill people and destroy property when homeless people light campfires in flammable backwoods timber, and we must occasionally serve on juries when they injure or kill their peers or those who have homes. With respect to the mentally infirm and firearms (you put the two into the same sentence, so I will address that), there are already laws on the books to prevent those deemed mentally infirm from obtaining weapons. Yet such laws did not prevent the knifing, shooting, and running down with a car done by a mentally infirm man in Chula Vista, Elliot Rodgers, who was actually under psychiatric treatment and ought to have been covered by this law. There is a law on the books — the “Gun-Free School Zones Act” — which makes it illegal to have a gun within a school zone. Yet this law was broken by the Stoneman Douglas shooter, who entered a gun-free zone with a gun intending harm to all within that zone, with predictable results. Nobody in the zone had the ability to defend themselves, and that was that. Whose hands are stained with the blood of the defenseless? Our Founding Fathers for putting a right to gun ownership into the Constitution, or those progressives who refused to deal with reality and make whatever “gun-free zones” they decided to have be well defended? We do, after all, assure that those entering our courtrooms or State legislative chambers do not have guns, and if a gun sneaks in, the judges and legislators, more often than not, are armed themselves. So why isn’t a school treated more like a court or legislative house? I submit that it’s progressive thinking that they can make a law and everyone will follow it that are to blame. They themselves “pack”, but do not want you packing — and they have dozens of reasons why they should be allowed, but you should not.
    So, you believe that our country is in a “dire situation”. I don’t, in spite of the progressives’ clueless ways. We are still the country everyone else envies, and we have a standard of living, even with our defects, which people are dying in the deserts to obtain.


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