1/28/14

State of the Union . . .

Tonight, my fellow Americans, is a bad night for your regularly scheduled network television programs (whatever you crazy kids are watching these days) but it is one of the BETTER nights of the year for guys, like me, that love the theater of politics for tonight the President of the United States will make his way down Pennsylvania Avenue to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress and every member of the Supreme Court and the Presidential cabinet but one (my favorite part of our National Security as relates to this evening) and hundreds of guests.

I love the State of the Union address. If I'm being honest, it was President Bush's State of the Union in 1991 (we were "at war" with Iraq during Operation Desert Storm at the time and I had to know what he was going to say) that first really turned my mind to the power of politics. While the candidacy of William Jefferson Clinton a few months later turned my boyish crush in to a passion - his speech (about 48 minutes if Wikipedia is correct, I remember bits of it myself) was a catalyst for me to love politics. Not everyone loves the event, clearly.

I've loved them ever since. The "sides" and the "fight" don't matter. The art and the strategy and the chess that goes in to it is what draws me. While me personal politics are somewhere "left" of "center" I will say that I don't love everything about President Obama or his policies but I DO love the fact that he still talks BIG ideas, BIG gestures, BIG picture. That is what a Commander in Chief (in the Oval Office or the shift manager at the local burger joint) should do. He swings for the fences and he's a very nice rip-off of JFK's oration style (a great speaker, a horrible President (sorry, Mother)).

Tonight SHOULD be the 23rd straight State of the Union I watch. I've watched them in my family living room, my college dorm room, a restaurant just a few hundred yards away from the Capitol rotunda (twice), large auditoriums, small bars, and even in my bedroom with my daughter on my lap (one of the first people outside of family she knew the name of was "Brockohbumma") and I think I've genuinely passed the "bug" on to her. She'll be with her mother tonight (who I also, proudly, got interested in the speech many, many moon ago) and I think they'll watch.

The question is will I rush home from class to watch tonight or will I go back to packing and watch it much, much later thanks to the "power" of the World Wide Web.

Watch tonight's speech. It doesn't matter your politics or your political interest. The agenda laid out in the remarks and the response from Rep. McMorris Rodgers or the "other" response from whatever Tea Party awesomeness shows up in front of the camera will influence the politics of the coming year and, if you look historically at some of the fights born out of these events, the path and history of our national dialogue. Have your spouse watch. Get your kids in front of the TV. You might not love it but you'll learn something and you'll roll your eyes, and you'll laugh, and you'll - in the one great moment hidden in the event (even if it is the ceremonial walk to/from the podium) that really strikes you - feel a pang of Americana that might just get you excited about politics.