It was a day that will live in cyberspace, it was the rip seen around the internet since Tuesday, when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tore up her copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, on national TV. Not very dignified, of course. Overtly showy. And maybe not justified by his refusal to shake her hand when he ascended the dais. But lots of people on her side of the aisle believe Mr. Trump has torn up the Constitution.
Her explanation: “He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech.”
OK, so that’s the State of the Union these days, and there’s no reason to think it will mellow one little bit between now and November.
As for the speech itself, it was the usual stuff we get at these things, only on steroids: You praise yourself to the sky, you claim to have created the sun, the moon and the stars, you throw out lots of red meat to your base, and you dump on the other party. Standard issue.
Except that this time the speech was such a show-biz extravaganza and so studded with those manufactured magic moments featuring folks in the peanut gallery (I think we have Ronald Reagan to blame for this stuff, but it has since gotten entirely out of hand, not to mention very annoying) that it may make more sense to give the show a TV review than a political analysis. And anyway, the bottom of the page is coming up fast.
Let’s see: There was the spotlight for a foreign leader, Juan Guaido of Venezuela; the promotion to brigadier general for Charles McGee, a 100-year-old veteran who was one of the famous Tuskeegee Airmen; the grab-the-Kleenex reunion of a military family; and the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh — a radio star who once enlightened the airwaves by saying that slavery “had its merits” and by promoting the bogus and racist myth that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in this country. So now Mr. Limbaugh joins those, like the late Rosa Parks, who actually deserved the honor.
As far as I recall, there were no live births, christenings, solar eclipses, faith healings or other miracles during the show Tuesday night, but what we got was more than enough.
In between a number of warnings to us about the dangers of immigrants, immigration and anything else foreign, Mr. Trump pandered briefly to the Second Amendment folks (never mentioning that the vast number of violent crimes in this country are committed by home-grown evildoers, not by immigrants either legal or illegal) and more briefly said the U.S. would join the One Trillion Trees Initiative — never saying why that might be important, because it has to do with carbon and climate change, and he doesn’t believe in any of that stuff; just another hoax.
But the main thing I was left with after the speech was a feeling, and it goes something like this: Here we are in our big, beautiful country, cowering behind his big, beautiful wall because of all those dangerous, foreign, Spanish-speaking people who are constantly trying to sneak in so they can get on welfare and commit many crimes.
It’s a dark picture he paints, but I’m sure it’ll be worth millions of votes next fall.
Reach Glenn Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org.