I have been preaching and screeching seemingly since The Flood about the need for greater civility and collegiality in the halls of political power.
Here comes my pitch for more of the same this week. The president of the United States is going to deliver his first State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress.
Donald J. Trump will stand at the podium and will seek to tell the nation about how he sees the condition of things in the country and lay out his agenda for the future.
Yes, I’ll be watching along with the rest of the nation’s political junkies to see how his message will be received by Democrats. You know Republicans will cheer, whoop and holler at everything that comes from the president’s mouth. The Democrats? Let’s just say they’ll be more, um, circumspect.
There’s talk of congressional Democrats boycotting the event.
President Barack Obama wasn’t always treated with utmost respect by members of the opposing party when he delivered State of the Union speeches. There was the infamous “You lie!” epithet that came from U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson. I’ve commented, too, about how congressmen and women would operate their “devices” while sitting on the floor while ostensibly “listening” to the president.
The most recent time a president received universal applause from a joint congressional session clearly was when President Bush spoke to the nation immediately after 9/11. We were united in our sorrow and rage and Congress reflected that sense of national resolve.
My hope for Donald Trump is that he is treated with courtesy.
Many of us don’t like the idea of this man sitting in this office. However, he is the duly elected president of the United States. The office deserves loads of respect. It’s my belief that members of Congress assembled in front of the president should treat the office with reverence — and should act accordingly.
As for the president’s pledge that he will seek to unify the nation when he delivers his State of the Union speech, I’ll only add that he had that chance at his inaugural. It didn’t work out that way.
I am hoping for — if not necessarily expecting — a better outcome.