Last night the political theatre was opening night stellar.
There was the sight of assumed foes coming into the House chambers two by two in order to take in the speech of the President. After all the wrangling that erupts all too often in elevated stress and little progress, our leaders wanted to make a statement about playing and working well together. Sign acts matter. Let’s hope they do.
It’s hard not to be lumpy in the throat when watching the pomp and circumstance of the State of the Union Address. In one room are the persons we have entrusted to represent us. Say what you want about them, but the people dutifully or enthusiastically clapping in that room last night have traded in much of their lives in order to be a part of the workings of government.
I heard a commentator on NPR rue the day when the spokesperson role of the President changed. He (or she) used to be heard as the President of the United States. During the speech, he was perceived as speaking for the country. Now the president is heard as the spokesperson for his party. Rebuttals and counter statements are stoked throughout the speech in order to be shared by the other party’s appointed spokesperson.
Increasingly I feel less hope for unity. As a confirmed Pollyanna this concerns me a bit. I feel less hope because the rush to proclaim doctrine is seemingly more important than the desire to be still and listen and learn from each other. The sexiest sound bite wins; the one most sure to inflame, while lives continue to be decimated by inequities and solutions seemingly beyond the power of our imagination and will.
But oh, as the hand shakes were shared and the vision proclaimed and the camera full of the visages of people who love their country, there was hope and wonder.
Truly, God bless America.