Tag Archives: SOTU

Treason: a serious four-letter word

One more comment on “treason,” and then I’m out … maybe, perhaps, hopefully.

When the president of the United States accuses fellow Americans of committing a treasonous act, he is accusing them of aiding and abetting enemies of the state. He is saying that those who commit such acts should be punished accordingly; the law allows traitors to be, um, executed.

Thus, when Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump tosses the t-word at congressional Democrats whose “crime against the state” is to sit on their hands during the president’s State of the Union speech, he’s being politically vulgar in the worst way possible.

Trump did that while speaking to an Ohio crowd this week. He called Democrats’ actions “un-American”; someone in the crowd yelled “treasonous,” which Trump heard and took it to the next step.

“Why not?” he asked about the word, getting guffaws and hoots from the adoring crowd.

Members of the loyal opposition often are impolite, or rude, or sometimes insulting during these speeches. However, hanging the ultimate four-letter word around them — calling their actions “treasonous” — betrays an utter ignorance of the very principle on which the Founding Fathers created the greatest nation on Earth.

Moreover, I am inclined to think that a more treasonous act would be to collude with a foreign power to corrupt our electoral process … if that happened, of course.


Protest is so very American, Mr. President

I just cannot let go of this idiocy muttered today by the president of the United States.

Donald J. Trump thought he’d tell an Ohio crowd that congressional Democrats who didn’t cheer the economic good news he delivered at the State of the Union were “un-American.” He took the bait offered by someone in the crowd by declaring them as acting “treasonous.”

I saw the clip and noticed the goofy look the president wears when he’s, um, joking. Maybe he was just kidding when he tossed out “treason” to describe Democrats’ behavior.

But still …

I need to declare that sitting on their hands in the congressional chamber is as American an act as I can think of.

Pardon me for reminding us all that the United States was created in an act of protest against a repressive government. Our nation’s founders created a governing document that codifies protest as an essential part of good government.

So, when members of an opposing party choose not to stand, cheer and clap when the president declares that all is good with the nation’s economy … well, that is their sacred right as American citizens.

My desire to seek to set the record straight on Trump’s latest idiotic declaration is aimed directly at the president’s most fervent supporters who actually believe this crap.

‘Treason’ makes a great punch line, yes? No!

Donald John “Jokester in Chief” Trump just keeps coming up with these knee-slappers.

He stood today before an audience and joked — at least I hope it was a joke — that Democrats who sat on their hands during the State of the Union speech the other night were committing “treason.”

“Can we call that ‘treason’? Why not?” he said.

I just can’t stop laughing. The guy just cracks me up.

Were it not for the word “treason,” the president could take this act on the road. Oh, wait! He did!


I don’t think “treason” is the kind of word that the president of the United States should toss around as a punch line at a rally.

Mr. President, what occurred at your State of the Union speech was a form of civil disobedience. There is no law requiring congressional Democrats to stand and applaud, just as there is no law that required Republicans to do so when Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union speeches.

Oh, but you know that already.

You do know it. Don’t you?

Unity remains a distant goal

Donald Trump vowed to deliver a speech this past week that would “unify” the nation.

It didn’t happen. He didn’t deliver. His State of the Union speech was met with disdain from roughly half of the room in which he spoke and about the same percentage from Americans at large, those of us who watched the speech from far away, on our TV screens.

It now begs the question: How are we ever going to be unified?

I believe it starts with the president of the United States.

We have one individual with a political constituency comprising the entire nation: it’s the president (and yes, you can include the vice president, too, given that these individuals run as a ticket).

But the president stands behind the bully pulpit. He is the one we listen to. He is the one with the message, the policy, the principles we look for. The president also is the one who is capable of delivering the message of unity.

It’s been one year and about two weeks since Donald Trump took the oath as president. How much has he done to unify the nation?

Practically nothing!

He blasts congressional Democrats for failing to cast any votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The president ignores — he didn’t forget — that not a single Republican cast any votes to approve the ACA back in 2010.

Trump continues to pound away at the media, calling journalists the “enemy of the American people.” He undermines the media for reporting what he calls “fake news.” He plays directly to the base of supporters that continues to support him — no matter what!

The president uttered that hideous assertion that white supremacists/Nazis/Klansmen comprise “fine people.” Who in the world actually believes that utter crap — other than the president?

At his State of the Union speech, the president uttered a remarkably divisive comment, declaring that “Americans are dreamers, too.” How does someone who proposes to unify the country poke his proverbial finger in the eye of those U.S. residents who were brought here illegally as children but who want to forge a path toward legal residency and even U.S. citizenship?

How can we reach a unified state? It must begin with the president. It’s the president who must set the tone.

It is not enough to declare your intention to unify a badly divided nation. It is incumbent on the head of state to deliver unity in the form of rhetoric that seeks to calm the storm.

The unity that Donald Trump proclaims he wants remains far in the distance. My fear is that this president is incapable of getting us to that point. He cannot function in such an environment.

There goes the quest for national unity

The all-too-brief search for national unity has ended.

Donald J. Trump said his State of the Union speech would be a unifying message. The president delivered it Tuesday night and then went on another Twitter tirade that blamed Democrats for the failure to reach an agreement on immigration reform.

Then the president officially called off the unity quest this morning. He agreed with the release of a memo written by Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes that accuses the FBI of bias in its investigation of the Russian meddling allegation.

The memo release has launched yet another partisan battle. Democrats opposed its release; Republicans favored it. The FBI opposed it, too. Its release just might trigger the resignation of FBI director Christopher Wray, whom Trump selected to lead the agency. Who knows, too, whether the release is the last straw for the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who has drawn plenty of presidential pique himself because he decided to recuse himself from the Russia probe.

I am no Sessions fan, but he made what I consider to be the right decision by recognizing his own bias in the Russia investigation, given his former role as a key member of Trump’s presidential transition team.

So, the president has now pitted the parties against each other; he also has squared off against the Department of Justice and the FBI. It’s now Trump vs. the DOJ/FBI.

Unity? Are you kidding me?

The president isn’t wired to unify anyone. He thrives on confrontation. He basks in conflict. He glories in calling attention to himself.

Oh, and have I mentioned that Donald Trump is unfit to lead the greatest nation on Earth? Hey! I just did!

Yet another, um, ‘exaggeration’ from Trump

Is it an exaggeration or is it an outright lie?

Donald John Trump has declared, apparently without any proof, that his State of the Union speech was watched by the largest TV audience in the history of the broadcast medium.

The president’s declaration has been challenged, of course, by those who reminded him that other recent presidents spoke to larger audiences than he did. Some have reminded the president than an earlier speech he delivered, in 2017, to a joint congressional sessions was larger than the audience he drew for this week’s State of the Union.

It’s shades of the argument over the size of the Trump inaugural crowd all over again.

I guess we can expect this kind of foolishness from the president. The issue boils down to whether we believe it is (a) a mere exaggeration, (b) a misspoken statement or (c) an outright lie.

I am inclined to believe the third option. Why? Because the president knows — or he should know — the truth, but refuses deliberately to speak it.

State of the Union: a most political event

I am inclined to tell my friends who are fans of Donald J. Trump to settle down. Chill out. Take a breather. Don’t get so upset that congressional Democrats didn’t stand and cheer along with their Republican “friends.”

Trust me on this: Given that I live in the heart of Trump Country, my list of friends and acquaintances is full of Trumpkins. I don’t begrudge them for their political loyalty. I also hope they don’t begrudge me for mine.

One friend — and he’s an actual “friend” — has been ranting on social media about how the Democrats sat on their hands during Trump’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night. He is just insulted that they would disrespect the president in such a disgraceful manner. How dare they do such a thing!

My friend has been around long enough to know how this game is played. Republican presidents usually get the proverbial stiff-arm from Democrats in the House of Representatives hall. Here’s the deal, though: Democratic presidents get the same treatment from Republicans when it’s their opportunity to deliver State of the Union speeches.

It goes with the territory, folks.

I don’t like it, either. I would rather the “loyal opposition” would show respect for the presidency, even if they dislike the individual who is occupying the office in the moment.

I need not remind my friend, moreover, about how Republicans treated President Barack H. Obama when he delivered his speeches to Congress. However, if he is reading this blog post, I’ll remind him of how GOP U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” during one of Obama’s speeches before a joint congressional session.

By my reckoning, that outburst was far more disrespectful than anything we saw this week.

I’m not worried in the least about how Democrats behaved while the Republican president stood before them. They did what members of the “opposing” party always do.

Do I wish they would behave better? Sure. I also wish the same of Republicans the next time we elect a Democratic president.

What about ‘Russia,’ Mr. President?

I didn’t expect Donald Trump to bring up “the Russia thing” during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

It would have required a suspension of disbelief to assume the president would say that a “year of the Russia probe is enough.” He wasn’t about to elevate special counsel Robert Mueller’s accelerated investigation into alleged collusion with Russian hackers by the Trump presidential campaign.

But I was hoping at some level that the president might bring up Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election at some level. Perhaps he could have at least pledged to protect our electoral process against actual or perceived foreign meddling, against those who would hack into our process and seek to determine an outcome they preferred.

He didn’t even have to acknowledge what the U.S. intelligence community has determined — that Russia did meddle in our 2016 election.

Contrary to the assertions of the White House press office, the Russia meddling is on the minds of millions of Americans who are concerned about what effect it might have had on the outcome. I am not yet convinced that the Russian hacking into our system was decisive, that they actually tilted the election in Trump’s favor.

Whether the Russians succeeded in their aim, though, misses the point. The point — as I get it — is that they did what they did and put the integrity of our system of “free and fair elections” in jeopardy.

That amounts to an act of open hostility by our nation’s preeminent international adversary.

And isn’t the president supposed to protect us against such assaults on our democratic system? Shouldn’t the president declare his intention to stop such interference in the future? And shouldn’t he put the international perpetrators on notice?

Donald Trump was silent on that matter.


Didn’t hear much ‘unity,’ Mr. President

I awoke this morning during a lunar eclipse. But the sun rose in the east — just as it has done since the beginning of time.

However, I don’t believe I awoke to a country more “unified” after last night’s presidential State of the Union speech, which I watched from start to finish.

The president said his speech would “unify” the nation. Judging from what I witnessed on my TV screen, I didn’t see a unified joint congressional session. Republicans stood repeatedly. Democrats sat on their hands.

Is that somehow different? Is it unique to this president in this time? Not at all! Republicans sat on their hands when Presidents Clinton and Obama spoke to them, just as Democrats did during President Bush’s two terms (the president’s post-9/11 speech notwithstanding, when everyone was cheering his rallying cry to a grieving nation).

Donald Trump’s urging of unity was supplanted by mentioning tax cuts, the repealing of the mandates required by the Affordable Care Act, the battle over immigration and construction of “the wall,” the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice. Divisiveness, anyone?

The president took office in the aftermath of arguably the most contentious, bitter campaigns in the past century. He took charge of a nation divided sharply over his election — and it hasn’t gotten any less divided in the year since he took office.

If the congressional response we witnessed Tuesday night on Capitol Hill is indicative of the nation those men and women represent, well, the president has a lot more work ahead of him.

Who will hug the aisle at the SOTU?

State of the Union speeches always are accompanied by back stories, vignettes that give commentators something on which to, um, comment.

How many ovations will bring both parties to their feet? How long will the president speak? How many programs will he lay at the feet of Congress?

Here’s what I’ll look for tonight: Who will be hugging the aisle when the sergeant at arms announces: Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States?

When the president walks down the aisle toward the podium, he usually shakes hands, gets high-fives, slaps a few members of Congress on the back, gets good wishes and does that silly “finger-point” to someone he recognizes.

During the two most recent presidencies — of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama — one could always depend on seeing certain lawmakers getting TV face time hugging or shaking hands with the incoming president. I think, for instance, of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat.

Members of Congress usually wait for hours prior to the speech to get their preferred place along the aisle. You could depend on seeing Rep. Lee greeting Presidents Bush or Obama as they walked toward the speaker’s podium.

There’s a new man in the Oval Office these days. Donald J. Trump’s the guy who’ll deliver the State of the Union speech.

So … the question: Who will we see leaning over the aisle looking to greet the president, and will one of them be Sheila Jackson Lee, the fierce Democratic partisan?

Let’s get real for just a moment. Democratic members of Congress — along with a few Republicans — have been pretty damn vocal in their criticism of the president; they’ve blasted him for his behavior, his rhetoric and, indeed, his policies.

What’s more, this president has been pretty fierce in his response to his congressional critics.

I believe I’ll look tonight to see evidence of grudges.