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Opinion

Trump’s State of the Union address provides disconnect from his actions

Lauren A. Simenson

January 31, 2018

Tuesday night marked a critical aspect of any new presidency – the State of the Union address. Trump spoke for 90 minutes in a speech that did not sound as though he had any part in writing it. The president spoke to America, but he did speak to me and I am guessing he did not speak to the majority of Americans, who have given the President the lowest approval rating in the history of the office.

President Trump obtained the office on a platform of aggressive language, hatred and divisiveness – yet, the message he wanted to spread in his State of the Union address was one of unity. I did not buy into his campaign message, and I am not putting stock into the message of his State of the Union address. A couple of the memorable opening lines of his speech, “a new tide of optimism is already sweeping…” and “to make America great again for all Americans…” were all laughable lines of falsities to my ears.

Over the past year since he came into office, hate crime rates have risen. According to CNN.com, “The Southern Poverty Law Center found 867 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the 10 days after the Nov. 8 election.” This past year since Trump took office, white supremacists have marched. Women protesting for more control in their own health care decisions and seeking justice for sexual abuse and harassment have started huge movements. Immigrant mothers and fathers are being rounded up, separated from their children and are being deported back to countries they have not lived in for decades. He praised beautiful, clean coal, did not mention gun control or climate change, and wants the middle class – already struggling to save for retirement and college- to fund infrastructure improvements.

There is a disconnect from the words displayed on his teleprompter and from his actions.

I am not optimistic, nor do I think that America is being made great for all Americans, as he claimed over and over again in his speech. Trump does not speak to me or for me.

Trump does not speak for me when he says that America will be safer when families are separated, or when we increase our nuclear weapons, or engage in conflict with North Korea. He does not speak for me when he says we all live under one God. He does not speak for me when he boasts about his eliminations of regulations that protect our environment, our families, our finances or our health.

It seems to me that the America Trump was speaking of on Tuesday was not the America he was actually speaking to. His idea of what America looks like seems to be a Christian, nuclear family. He used words such as, “one people” and “one nation” and “faith and family at the center of American life” and “in God we trust”, which are not words that I would assume could describe all of the range of people in this nation who are currently divided over the state of this country.

He spoke before the address on how being president requires more heart and compassion than he originally thought, and yet I still did not hear those sentiments honestly come across in his speech. Instead, his greasy words were smug, cocky, and arrogant and unreflective of the current reality.

I am not the only person who feels that the teleprompter-speech did not speak the truth. Fact-checkers during the state of the union address were quick to point out the exaggerations and the lies, and even members of the audience were vocal about their immediate feelings towards his stance on immigration.

Just because he stuck to the script and said words he thinks we all want to hear, does not mean that he is any more in tune with the state of this America than he was a year ago at the start of his presidency.

Lauren Simenson is a student at UW-River Falls.

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