If you haven’t yet read J.E.Dyer’s stirring and at times moving assessment of last night’s State of the Union address, I urge you to stop reading and do so now.
One passage in particular that resonated with me focused on a rare moment for any SOTU or other official state business ordinarily marked by decorum if not pomp. It was when the entire chamber broke out in a chorus of “Happy Birthday” for 81-year-old invited guest Judah Samet, who survived the Holocaust and, more recently, the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The event was so spontaneous, so rousing, that even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began to sing, at first tentatively, then with full throat.
J.E. wrote used this inspirational moment to reflect on the two Americas we currently live in. One is the America whose citizens “just keep hoisting their rucks every day and going about their business, providing for their families, producing everything we have” and “would rather sing Happy Birthday to a stranger than hear one more word about what a terrible place their country is.” The other is the America inhabited by those who prefer to “plot to move other people’s money around to suit the tantrums of an ill-tempered ideology.”
By declaring that “America will never be a socialist nation” (which also earned the applause of the Democratic elders) the president was effectively “calling out” the residents of that second America, whose response was predictable. The unlikely young upstart who overnight has become their de facto leader tweeted out:
Why should I be “spirited and warm” for this embarrassment of a #SOTU?
Tonight was an unsettling night for our country. The president failed to offer any plan, any vision at all, for our future.
We’re flying without a pilot. And I‘m not here to comfort anyone about that fact. https://t.co/7bu3QXFMnC
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 6, 2019
Typically she can’t envision a plan forward for the country that does not begin and end with the redistribution of wealth, but that is her cross to bear.
What was more surprising was the response to the address from Democrats who have been at the game a little longer and should know better. Here’s one of them:
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ): "Again, this is a president whose rhetoric is often vicious, cruel. Here he talked a lot about World War II, but he couldn't even condemn Nazis when they were marching in Virginia. I'm tired of the divisive, painful, hurtful rhetoric of this president." pic.twitter.com/lkeBzcjh1v
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 6, 2019
Another was Bernie Sanders, who called the speech “racist” and “factually inaccurate,” adding that Trump was “trying to have one group turn against another group.”
Several prominent figures on the Left offered no response to the SOTU at all. Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren bracketed the address on Twitter with a laundry list beforehand of “some things we could work together on instead of building a wall” and a short clip afterward of Stacey Abrams’s rebuttal. Chuck Schumer similarly cobbled together before and after tweets without ever responding to the content of the speech.
Kamala Harris, as promised, delivered a prebuttal to the address on Facebook, which she later summarized in a tweet, but had no other response to the SOTU.
No matter what we hear tonight, remember this: The strength of our union has never been found in the walls we build. It’s in our diversity and our unity – and that is our power. pic.twitter.com/f1ytQq0o0T
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) February 6, 2019
None of this should be surprising, but it is so sobering. Ever since Barack Obama articulated his goal of “fundamentally transforming” America in 2008, Democrats great and small have been fixated on realizing that objective. When Obama’s antithesis was voted into office in 2016, many on the Left doubled down on their “vision,” effectively waging war on America and all its traditions.
It’s a shame more of the haters didn’t listen last night. By rejecting out of hand everything the president said, they are forecasting two more years — and maybe more — of winter.