On Tuesday, January 30th, President Trump gave his State of the Union Address. The president covered a range of topics from tax reform to health care to the unity of our government and our country. Overall, the president seemed very pleased with the progress he had made in his first year in office.
When I first began to watch the address, I was impressed by the fact that President Trump seemed more composed and organized than he usually does when he speaks to a large crowd. However, I was immediately aware of the amount of applause and the number of standing ovations that seemed to interrupt the actual address. Though the president spoke of his progress, there was a lot of his speech that I felt acted as “fluff” to just fill the time.
He emphasized his new tax bill and multiple other acts of legislation he has “called upon Congress” to put in place. The president made sure to talk about trade and infrastructure along with everything he plans to do for veterans, which are all very important topics. Trump also covered immigration and DACA, however, it seemed that these topics were not met with as much reason or respect.
When the president began to speak about immigration, he used the topic as a transition to talk about drugs and violence in America. Trump’s indifference towards and disrespect for immigrants was very clear when he said, “Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families.” The understatement behind this is: “immigrants aren’t Americans, so we are going to capitalize on their presence for American success.”
Immigrants work in and for America, and the fact that President Trump still can’t seem to understand that is infuriating. Rather than talk about proper and fair immigration policies, the President continued to talk about gang violence and essentially equated immigrants to violent gang members. Trump has made similar comments before, but this should not be a mentality that he should bring into the Capitol and to the millions of people watching.
The messages relayed from these comments, however, are completely contradictory to what he says afterwards: “. . .I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color, religion, and creed.” After this statement, the question I wanted answered was, who are “our citizens”? Are “our citizens” only Americans? Or do “our citizens” include immigrants as well? President Trump does not clarify this because it is clear that he does not believe that immigrants are Americans as well. Though President Trump outline his four tiers for better immigration, the whole conversation about immigration was laced with blatant racism and inconsideration for the immigrant experience.
I do not say this to spite Donald Trump. I say this because he more or less said it himself. When talking about young people’s accessibility to the American Dream, Trump claimed that “Americans are dreamers too.” This is the worst thing Trump could have said about DACA and the Dreamers. This statement truly proves that Trump does not care about Dreamers because they are people of color. Trump’s State of the Union Address does not address all Americans, it only addresses white Americans and tells them: “I’ll work for you and only you.”
At the beginning of his address, Trump claimed that the state of our union is strong, but I disagree. The state of our union could not be more divided and weak than it is now due to the president’s statements and the underlying prejudiced messages within his speech. Trump has not shown that the country is strong because he has caused unrest and separation between the people in the country. To me, the state of our union is not strong. The state of our union is divided and inconsiderate because the president’s actions.