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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.